We see three principles are at the core of the beautiful company concept. We explain the principles and how we plan to implement them below. The concept will grow and evolve over time. We plan to share our progress regularly and hope that others will join us on this adventure!
We think a company can be a thing of beauty and we’ve got some ideas about how to make it happen. We developed these principles for ourselves by observing companies that we admire and by trying to understand what makes them so special. Our aim is to develop values and practices that we can shape into an operating system for our company.
Enable great lives
A company is made of people and we want those people to live great lives. There is no single definition of exactly what makes a great life because it’s a bit different for everyone. But we think there are some key ingredients:
- Health: both physical fitness and mental well-being
- Love and social connections: positive relationships with a partner, family, friends and colleagues
- Variety and enjoyment: the ability and time to enjoy good things in life
- Engagement and achievement: experiencing the sense of mastery and flow when engaged in a task and feeling proud of the outcome
- Significance and meaning: a sense of purpose and belonging
It’s important that no single part of life dominates the others. Such an imbalance would have negative side effects. A key aspect of this is equation is time, which is one of the few truly non-renewable resources. Work tends to demand a large proportion of people’s time, so we give people the freedom and flexibility to optimize work patterns to fit with their personal situation and preferences. We surround ourselves with great people and enable them to make a valuable contribution to our shared mission.
Pursue a purposeful mission
Many people view the ultimate goal of a business to be the maximization of profit or shareholder value. We don’t believe that this single-minded pursuit of profits is a worthy investment of time. It is important to stand for something and commit for the long-term. It’s what allows a beautiful company to build a lasting reputation, innovate and clearly stand out from the pack. Beautiful companies say no to the wrong kind of growth: the kind that just aims to maximize returns for the investors. Which is not to say that a beautiful company should not make money. In order to enable great lives for its people, it needs to provide the necessary means for them to achieve their goals. But the primary goal is not to enrich a small number of investors monetarily, but to enrich the lives of a wider group including employees, customers, and other stakeholders through the pursuit of a purposeful mission. A purposeful mission:
- Provides a clear goal that motivates people to create value.
- Should be self-selected rather than imposed.
- Will evolve and adapt in a dynamic environment.
- Is openly stated in order to attract others that want to make it their own.
Do things beautifully
In order to achieve the first two principles, a beautiful company needs an operating system that empowers people to achieve them. The operating system defines how people work and interact to achieve the mission. It creates common values and practices that allow the company to function as a unit. On our blog, we will successively publish the values and practices that define how we currently operate. We know that these will change and evolve over time as we gather experience and learn what works best. We’ll review and update these ideas as we test and learn what works best for us.