Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Is Non-Violent Entrepreneurship?




For us, peace is not just ending war
or violence, but nurturing the capacity of
individuals, communities, and societies to
sustain harmonious relationships based on
mutual respect and caring for the welfare of
all. We seek to reconcile enemies and serve
the needs of all sides torn by violent strife.

This simple paragraph was taken from American Friends’ Service Committee’s pamphlet on the Quaker testimonies.  It is their statement about their position on the peace testimony in their own work. I chose to reprint it here precisely because it is so simple. 

What if as a business, YOU chose to nurture the capacity of individuals, communities and society to sustain harmonious relationships based on mutual respect and caring for the welfare of all?
What would that look like?  Would there be any practices in your business that you practice right now that would be limited by your making this statement? How do you feel about that?

My guess is that for a fair amount of businesses, this is not so hard.  We are in a feel good kind of era with business these days, and harmonious relationships is what it’s all about.  So chances are I haven’t lost a whole lot of you yet.  We can do SEO (search engine optimization), keyword searches, keep our whole standard approach and move on from here, right?

Okay then…

As a business, we NOW seek to reconcile our enemies and serve the needs of all sides torn by violent strife.  How’s that striking YOU? This is what AFSC has committed to as a business, really. Do you understand what this means?  That instead of adopting the winner takes all competitive blast them away attitude, you seek to resolve differences and reconcile with enemies and then, yes, serve the needs of all sides. 

Let’s look at how this is a wise business strategy. 
Instead of destroying business competitors and leaving them in the wake, one strives to keep business people as partners and customers, and to resolve differences wherever possible so that there is not the same kind of competition that makes enemies or strife.  Does this mean there won’t be strife?  Probably not.  It just means committing to not be a party to it and doing whatever is possible to resolve conflicts wherever possible…good Quaker business practice.

Friends, this is Slow Business. 
It takes dealing with businesses on a person to person level.  It does not involve ignoring modern business practices but it also does not mean ignoring time-tested practices for the new. Non-violence is not new business either.  People like to be dealt with gently.  They like to be treated kindly. These practices are the things that are forgotten when we begin to push for the sale.

Begin to think of whether in your heart, you are a Non-Violent Entrepreneur.

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