For those involved in or with family business
Why don't we try to set up a new style of 'good' business. Many Family Businesses are in the 'good' business group by my standards but there is no reason why any business might not be.
We could give it a new title that it could use after its company name something like 'considerate' although that is a clumsy word and too long.
There is no need for it to be a legal entity it could be just an informal qualification to start with eventually regulated by an independent monitoring system. Something like the BRC system for food companies, a standard that is now respected all over the world.
I have in mind that it would be a company that everybody could trust, i.e.
Employees would be respected and wll treated, considered when major decisions were to be taken that might affect them..
Customers would be respected and not deceived.
Suppliers would be treated with respect and paid on time, long term relationships would be built with them
The local community would be very important, helped and assisted in whatever ways possible and practical.
The environment would be respected in every sensible way.
When possible charities would be assisted.
It is actually the best way to do business.
Can you back me up, discuss this, add new ideas?
No soon said than done! I haven't had time to study this yet but I believe that it is rather similar to what I have suggested: The Relational Business
I have now read this document 'Transforming Capitalism from within: a Relational Approach to the Purpose, Performance and Assessment of Companies' by Jonathan Rushworth and Michael Schluter and find it to be the answer to my prayers for the future of business not only in this country but throughout the world.
I think that the concept that "The Relational goal to be achieved is a profitable and sustainable business to the benefit of all stakeholders, including wider society." is exactly right. I do think though that there are some aspects of the ten principles which need refinement. My particular concern is that the ratio between lowest-paid and the highest-paid of 20 times is not high enough for larger companies and I would propose varying ratios dependent on turnover (and maybe profit). The ratio might start lower for small companies and go up higher for larger companies.
I have always found that developing relationships with all stakeholders in business is not only very beneficial for those individuals but is also the route to much higher profitability obtained by releasing the creativity of all people. Even the person doing the meanest job is a wonderfully creative being, why waste this?
If I am fortunate enough to be appointed Chairman of Thorntons Plc, Given reconsideration of the above principle and some refinement of others then I would take steps for the company to become recognised for the purposes of the Relational Charter.
Can I please encourage a widespread debate on this UKFBA website of this most important topic. I would like to see contributions from all sides of our membership: family business people, corporate business people, academics, consultants and professional advisers.
Peter's 'New Style of Business' precepts chime with me, though many of course are very 'old-fashioned' examples of good business sense.
I have bookmarked - and recommended to some of my students - the 'Relational Company Charter', plus the website and the more detailed document Peter cites.
What interests me in this debate is that many of these commandments are very similar to what a lot of 'social enterprises' believe in.
Is it necessary for a business to be non-profit-making, or socially focused, to act in ethically appropriate ways?
Are ethical businesses destined to remain small-scale?
Where are the new breed of responsible entrepreneurs, whether starting family or non-family businesses, that will grow their companies to the size of a Cadbury's, a Rowntree's or a John Lewis Partnership?
Why are current business people who are 'socially responsible', such as Tom Hunter in the UK, seemingly more interested in philanthropy than new business development?
More questions than answers, I know, but an interesting discussion!
It shouldnt be neccessary for a business to be non-profit for it to be ethical. I believe Richard Branson manages most of his businesses in a very ethical manner despite them being purely for profit enterprises.