When someone tells you the reason they are doing something is “just standard business practice,” that’s a code. They mean “that’s just the way it is.”

And that’s really code for “we’re exploiting others for our own financial gain.” Too much in business (and elsewhere!) today individuals look to maximize their own take, control, or standing in the near term – at the expense of others, and of sustainability, in the long term. 

But does “standard business practice” have to remain standard? Most of us buy into “that’s just the way it is,” either because we benefit from keeping things the way they are or because we feel that we don’t have the power to change it.

I don’t buy into it.

That’s why I’m so inspired by Paul Tudor Jones’ work with JUST Capital. The Tudor Investments hedge-fund manager announced the new non-profit in April; since then JUST Capital has been hard at work on the JUST Business Index, a ranking of companies based not just on revenues but on just practices – as gauged from multiple perspectives.

According to its website, members of the organization believe first that profit need not come at the expense of people or the planet; and second that business conducted in a more balanced equitable and just manner should be rewarded by the markets. Their index is a first shot at making that more likely.

I believe this will be the beginning of actually incenting businesses and people to behave differently – in a more collaborative, equitable, and generous way with each other, our communities, and the planet. We have to figure out how to build businesses based on equilibrium, sufficiency, and putting the team and others ahead of yourself. This is a case of many standing in a place of “it doesn’t have to be this way.”

However, most are not there yet. Too many are still working from the current status quo – putting yourself first; always looking for more rather than enough. If you want to work differently, it’s important to find others who are willing to stand with you in this new space. This means a change in hiring practices like that of MuleSoft CEO Greg Schott, who says, “We’re looking for someone who is a good human. That is defined by high integrity, being a great team player, and they want to win as a company first, team second, individually third.” 

This is why building a business that stands in the possibility of contributing to an abundant, healthy, equitable, sustainable, balanced world is so important to me personally. We’re not just creating businesses. We’re creating a new world. A world where “that’s just the way it is” will be replaced by a simpler, more sustainable expression: “That’s just.”


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