The Evolving Principles of Business Artivism
- Create win-win scenarios where everyone gets what they need and feels good and no one feels taken advantage of.
- Recognize that we can’t just sit on our a$$es and do nothing if we want to have any right to complain about the respective states of our existence
- Embrace the ego because if you’re not getting what you need, you’re not going to be able to give others what they need. Accept that altruism and egotism are not incompatible concepts.
- It’s OKAY to make money doing something you love. And it sure as hell ought to be okay making money making the world a better place. And it’s okay for those who work harder and contribute more to society to make more, not less, money than others.
- Change happens ONE PERSON AT A TIME. It starts with the self and spreads outwards like rippling water. But as the one becomes the few and the few become the many, the waves increasingly intersect and create “nodes” of connection and understanding.
- No one person is the be all and end all within the interdependent business artivist system. Some people, however, akin to Malcolm Gladwell’s conception of the connector and the maven, have a greater grasp on big picture issues and that grasp should be respected, but never go unchallenged. The goal of the teacher is to have the student surpass him or her.
- Power abhors a vacuum. If humanistically oriented “spirit first” leaders (aka “poets of the possible”) don’t aspire to wield influence, then materially-oriented “money first” leaders will because their rules-based institutional structures are based upon a well-considered rational understanding of human nature that has proven itself successful time and again through recorded history. As such, the “rules of the game” are stacked in their favor because they have past precedent to argue their case. Many people with spiritually-inclined constitutions are co-opted into the “system” simply because there are no other viable alternatives.
- We can do just fine by ourselves, but we can do better together than apart. In the increasingly networked world of Intrenet 2.0, collaboration and sharing are to be considered a competitive advantage.
- Flexibility and adaptibility are key. Changing opinions and approaches resulting from growth, learning and changing circumstances “on the ground” are never to be considered evidence of a disingenuous initial position. Precisely because of this amorphous nature of the artivist network, the cultivation of permission-based networks centered upon trust, transparency, honesty and openness are key ingredients to business, as well as personal, success.
- Business is personal. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. The idea that it is not is just a “believeable fiction” we tell ourselves to ease those nagging guilts we feel when we screw others over. As social entrepreneurial and good corporate citizen models suggest, psychic benefit in lieu of monetary gain can provide for increased efficiency and yield superior profits, both psychic and monetary, going forward.
- Receive an ounce of kindness? Try to pass on two and it will even out in the end. If you don’t know what I mean, try being the guy who collects the money at the end of a group dinner…
- It’s okay to press the back button. Mistakes get made. We only ask good faith and for network participants and/or allies to take immediate ownership and accountability for past error. Mistakes made in good faith are not “evil.” Failure to re-assess past positions upon presentation of new information, or failure to allow for the presentation of new evidence (aka “communication shutdown”), however, will not be passively accepted, but persistently challenged, until a better story that better fits facts can be presented.
- Let’s be human beings… There is no room in business artivism for either petty jealousy or preening egoism. Those who succeed are to be considered guides and facilitators for those who helped promote them to success. Gifts of knowledge and/or venture risk capital are to be considered a duty. In return, the giver may reasonably expect a return on investment in the form of monetary or social equity. Returns on investment in the form of physical or emotional equity, however, are to be assiduously avoided whereever possible (you can’t shut off feeling after all…) lest they exploit well known inequalities embedded within the the very structure of unequal power distributions.
- Those who create work should benefit from the widespread dissemination of that work. We consider intellectual and creative copyright, especially in the digital age, a moral mandate.
- Business artivism is OPT-OUT at any time. If you’re not getting what you need, go someplace where you have a better chance to get it. But you can’t just take it all with you and neglect those who helped you along the way. Well… you can, but don’t expect us to sit still for it. We’ll fight for our own not to get the short end of the stick and even keep the door open for you to come back if and when the time is right.
The aforementioned principles 1 through 15 apply on personal, business and political levels all. And all dialectically feed back and influence the other levels. Personal and political are no less related than quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. Societal norms are simply Newtonian constructions of the mind.
dedicated to my very much still living parents, Charles R. Frank Jr. and Susan Niehaus; to my grandfathers, Charles R. Frank Sr. & Jules Backman; my grandmothers, Mary Frank, Grace Backman, and Lucille Krane-Frank; to my siblings, both imagined and unimagined; and to my step- and spiritual- parents on all the many, many sides of my 21st century family.
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