Only a really nasty person would deliberately plan to create a business that’s unethical or harmful to employees, the earth and other stakeholders. Yet, following the wisdom of the old adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail,” then failing to structure our vision and values into our businesses or jobs is planning to leave out those values — at least as measured by too many sorry results.
“Can you give me more tips and resources for how to put more of my values into my business?” asked a participant in a class I taught on business planning at the San Francisco Small Business Administration www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html). That led to the following list, which I’ll use in tomorrow night’s class. Links are kept visible, in case you want to print out the list and share it.
1. Be very clear about what matters most to you: what and who you care about, how you’re called to serve and use your talents. Focus a vision around your values, then build your business plan around your vision and values. Resource: “Finding Visions for Work and Life” at http://www.visionary-resources.com/resources/finding-visions-for-life-and-work/
2. Read biographies of people who do business profitably in a way that excites you. Take a walk and imagine your role model giving you practical advice and inspiration. This process can be magical. Just ask any kid who becomes more courageous by imagining she is more like her hero. Business consultant C.J. Hayden‘s (www.cjhayden.com) public service website (http://www.howtobecomeahero.com) is loaded with tips.
3. Think quadruple bottom line: profits, people, planet and purpose. Research the conscious capitalism and socially responsible business movements; find meetings and gatherings. Resources: Fast Company Magazine and its Ethonomics online channel (http://www.fastcompany.com), Heart of Business (www.heartofbusiness.com), Ode Magazine (www.odemagazine.com), consciouscapitalism.com, www.livingeconomies.org and quite possibly your local business school.
4. Go green! The Sustainable Business Alliance (www.sustainablebiz.org) is a membership organization for companies committed to greater environmental and socially responsible business practices. This San Francisco East Bay, CA group is a role model for any sustainable, socially responsible member group. Gil Friend’s book and talk on The Truth about Green Business are outstanding. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKB20j4sWAE Also see his free newsletters at http://www.natlogic.com/approach/new-bottom-line/.
5. Make integrity your bottom line. (http://spiritworkandmoney.com/creating-a-culture-of-integrity-for-work-and-money/). Using your mental inner compass, North Start, gyroscope, or carpenter’s level and plumb line, note how to measure when you are on true with your deepest self and on the level with others. Then stick to your principles. Elizabeth Doty’s new book: The Compromise Trap, How to Thrive at Work without Selling Your Soul, is totally practical. (See www.worklore.com/CompromiseTrap and spiritworkandmoney.com/how-to-thrive-at-work-without-selling-your-soul.
6. Turn every business task into an opportunity to implement your deepest values. For more than thirty years, a growing spirituality and work (also called “faith and work” or “spirituality and business” or “workplace spirituality”) movement has sought to heal the split between work and what matters most: integrity, purpose, joy, time to pet the cat and be with people we love, etc. For an overview of this movement and many resources, see http://www.spiritworkandmoney.com/spirit-and-work-resource-center/.
7. Be absolutely respectful in implementing your values at work. The wisdom of our diverse faiths needs to be practiced, not preached. (spiritworkandmoney.com/all-faiths-are-rich-in-wisdom-for-money-and-work-part-1/ Etiquette for spirituality and work is thankfully a growing field (www.workforce.com/archive/feature/25/96/27/index.php?ht=) When in doubt, be kind. http://spiritworkandmoney.com/kindness-the-best-workplace-spirituality-practice-ever/