Balancing People, Planet and Profits – A solution?

August 24, 2016

Social-Enterprise-MarkSocial enterprises face unique challenges. They need to keep their customer satisfied, have contented staff, make a profit and have a positive cash flow – all responsible businesses need to do that! But the additional burden – or exhilaration if you are truly passionate – for Social Enterprise is to satisfy your social aspirations too – whether that means serving your community, protecting the ecology or re-solving a social problem.

For me, how I prefer like to serve my community is in helping families to have calm lives. I believe that families, regardless of how you define them or indeed whom you choose to be in your family, are the bedrock of community cohesion. When we feel secure in our family environment, we can step out and do good work in our community.

My community work is focused on families suffering with the effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and with single mothers wanting to build a career or business. Neither myself nor my colleagues are wedded to those groups, it just happens to be an area of specialism. Therefore, we also support other social entrepreneurs who want to have and make their own and unique impact in the world, through consultancy

I do this by running a business that provides consulting, therapy and coaching. The business uses its profits on a ‘third, third and third’ basis i.e. that is equally into:

  1. Funding free and reduced rate work for those in need
  2. Investing in the business to build for the future
  3. Rewarding those who invested in the business

I would recommend this as a model for other social enterprise’s as it has proven to be sustainable, enabling us to take on and provide our service from premises rather than compromising and working from ours and clients homes.

Purpose of this post? To raise the profile of social entrepreneurs and ask you to find ways to help me raise the profile of the work that we do. Can you help?

 


People, Planet and Profits

August 23, 2016

image

There is a tension in the world, particularly the Western World, which often bubbles up into political trouble. At its extreme the Capitalists (‘hurrah for profit!) stand deeply opposed to the Ecologists (‘humans are just one of many planetary species!’)

Standing between these two extremes of ‘Profit’ and ‘Planet’ are the ‘People’ those of us who are the beneficiaries of profit (from the exploitation of natural resources) and who accept we have some responsibility and obligation to care for the planet (‘we are all valuable!)

It’s not difficult to see that ‘Pristine Capitalist’ of ‘Profit Rules’ might align to Right Conservative politics (in the UK). Their key argument is that people have an obligation to use resources for best effect and that the best way to decide that is if people are willing to pay more than the costs of providing the good or service. Capitalists argue that by employing people and paying taxes they are making their adequate contribution to society and the planet. They assert it is for the Government to decide the priorities for a social and ecological agenda.

The extreme opposite is the ‘Deep Ecologist’, maybe those on the political left, such as the Green Party. They place a much greater burden on the people to elect and choose the planet over profit. They might even feel there are far too many humans, demanding too much from the planet and that short term profit is simply indulgent and short sighted. They argue we will eventually out-consume the ability of the planet to provide.

Most of us ‘People’ can accept both arguments and stand some where in the middle.

We might advocate a ‘Social Contract’ that is an obligation to balance the requirements of the three factors of production; capital, labour and land (Profit, People and Planet). The writer is excited at the animated debate around these issues and feels that the younger generation (despite their Gaming and Pokemon ways) are much more capable of taking forward the sustainability debate (‘How to meet the need of the current generation with out compromising the needs of any future generations’) than are the older team, of whom the writer is a part.

Why? Because the older team grew up with ‘Profit as a God’ which recent ecological focuses have demonstrated is not always sustainable. The other reason is that the generation following us are ‘Feminine’ in their approach. They take a whole and holistic view, balancing the three P’s.

No wonder the cry in any catastrophic situation is (save) ‘Women and Children First’, they are the future.


Linking, learning, laughing & the like

August 3, 2016

image

“The true business of people should be to go back to school,” wrote the great architect Buckminster Fuller, “and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

The irony is, that people need go about the business of learning, because things are changing:

1. In the future, people will have shorter and more careers, and they will do more part time work and volunteer work.
2. More people will work independently in small businesses where they contract out their services to larger organizations.
3. More workers, especially women, will work from their homes.

With the move toward more self-employment and more work from the home and away from the organization, comes more choice and more responsibility, for both worker and employer. Individuals will have more freedom to shape work to fit the way they want to live instead of fitting life into a work schedule.

But they also will have the freedom to do poor quality work, by cheating or by laziness. The organization will have more flexibility but can abuse that flexibility by exploiting the outsider, tightening its conditions, and reducing the rewards. How important it will be that employees and employers can engage in trust confidence, finding ways and means to  talk.

I expect I will also have to work longer; the social philosopher Charles Handy explained we are likely to have three phases of work life:
1. Our main career, where we make our money (I am grateful to have been a CEO)
2. Our passion career, were we enjoy our work (I love teaching and coaching)
3. Our retirement supplement work (our pensions simply won’t be big enough to support our long lives).

I am hoping the Community Hub will help me explores the way in which the world of work is changing and what the thoughtful individual’s choices and responsibilities should be. I a looking forward to having ‘Good Conversations’.