My Pispective on Business Constitutions

Business management Purpose Constitution

(A pispective is where you write about something in 314 words)

We humans are naturally purpose seeking but also naturally commitment avoiding. By which I mean, we like to sign up for important sounding stuff, but also like an escape clause. Just in case things get tougher than expected.

'Compliance' is the service philosophy of many government agencies, though that seems like an oxymoron to me. Still, some form of compulsion seems inevitable if we hope to fund a functioning society. That said, it seems preferable to avoid having to compel people to do something.

That people move out of self-interest has long been an article of faith for me. If people want something, they'll make room for it in their lives. This means people will voluntarily submit or sacrifice in return for something they see as being valuable.

Because we are purpose seeking, we are open to adopting codes of behaviour that, if followed, promises to be a recipe for a better self. No need for compliance/compulsion here. Business is waking up to the idea that business for business sake just isn't sufficient for many people anymore.

If a business wants to prosper, it needs to get clear about its purpose and take that purpose seriously. One way it can do that is through a constitution. Values statements in their current form don't really cut it anymore.

The sense of a constitution as a set of laws that govern community is relatively new. Prior to that it meant a mode of organization and before that it meant the act of establishing. With the idea that we are establishing a particular identity or sense of self.

However, going all the way back into the Latin root, the verb 'to constitute' meant to cause something to stand. Or, to return to the modern sense, to stand for something.

This is what the modern management professional is confronted with. The need for business to stand for something.

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