External Content

Slowing Down to Speed Up

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Written by Charles Wookey

When my oldest son first went to primary school, his warm and wise reception teacher summed him up well: “that boy is on permanent fast-forward”. We never did find the pause button.  Even now, at 28, sitting still is not his forte. I’ve long realised that his father is partly to blame. My own nature is to crack on with life, filling each day with as much content as possible, and running when walking might do. Read More

Management is broken – here’s how we can fix it

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Written by Julia Rebholz, originally published in People Management 

We need to start seeing people as individuals with limitless potential and trust them to make decisions, says Julia Rebholz

Top-down pyramidal structures are producing stressed-out middle managers, low productivity and poor working relationships. While this style of management was relevant for 1960s manufacturing jobs, in our 21st century service-based economy it is outdated and ineffective. Read More

The Purposeful Company

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The Purposeful Company: Policy Report – Blueprint Statement

A Blueprint for Better Business warmly welcomes the publication of The Purposeful Company: Policy Report. We are glad to have been involved as contributors in this important project.

The opening two sections of the report describe the core beliefs and aims. They also describe what a purposeful company is, and why purpose is so important. The essential point, which is foundational also for our work at Blueprint, is the recognition that a purposeful company is fundamentally oriented to serving society, and where profit is seen as the outcome not the purpose. As the report states: “The purposeful company contributes meaningfully towards human betterment and creates long term value for all stakeholders”. A company is more than a web of transactions. It is a human community whose flourishing depends on, and is partly constituted by, the quality of relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and wider society. Read More

Making Business Work for All

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A report by The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) was released today. Entitled “Everyone’s Business: Making Business Work for All“.  The report is timely as it reflects the mood that the social problems we face as a society require collaboration from all parts of society rather than an allocation of separate roles to government, business and society. Each contributes to, and draws from, the totality of society that sustains them.

It was encouraging to hear at the launch that a common theme of both the CSJ spokespeople and the invited Minister, Nick Hurd MP, was the message to business that “what they do matters” in creating a fairer society that includes dignity and social mobility. The call was to recapture the narrative about the broader good that business contributes to society rather than to allow the dominant narrative to be about the self interested people and businesses that disrespect people and use society for financial ends.  With that position of influence, and encouragement, comes responsibility and the “how they go about their business” is something they should be, and should seek to be, judged by.  Judged not just by society at large but also by the business community,  as the strong evidence base that the report draws on shows that “not thinking about social responsibility harms your business “.

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Mission-Led Business

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The Government’s mission-led business review started out with a narrow definition of a ‘mission-led business’ as a subset of mainstream business.  What is very exciting from the report published today, is to see how their own consultation led to a broadening of the agenda, ending up with a healthy recognition that there is an emergent mission-led business movement occurring across the UK, and of businesses of all sizes.

The report notes the increasingly important role of business generally in addressing social and environmental challenges in the 21st century. It very helpfully recognises both the crucial importance of government, and at the same time the inherent limitations of law and regulation. It rightly calls for government, private sector and civil society to work together in a focussed effort to promote a lasting change in mainstream business culture. Government needs to encourage the work that many companies are doing as well as highlighting unacceptable practices. We need to shift the default so businesses see profit as the outcome of living out a purpose that serves society, rather than the sole aim. Advancing this change in expectations is one that mainstream business can and must lead. We have found that major companies  seek out Blueprint voluntarily to be a mirror from society to help catalyse their moves towards putting social goals at the heart of their way of working and thinking. Such leadership from within business needs to be encouraged.

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What Islamic finance can offer

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Written by Edward Hadas, Economics Editor at Reuters Breakingviews

The Islamic approach to finance was once the most advanced in the world. The period of pre-eminence ended six or seven centuries ago, but the religion’s fundamental insights into the field could help form a financial system suitable for the 21st century. Read More