If you are one of the many of people who believe that Plan A of the way business is managed — aka the status quo — is not working, this is a good day for you. Because I’m happy to announce the launch of the B Team, whose mission is to introduce a Plan B.
As one of 14 inaugural members of the B Team, I’ve been inspired by the way that over the last few months — in meetings and on email threads — the co-founders of the team, Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, and the other inaugural leaders, have been determined to change the values that drive businesses, to “prioritise people and planet alongside profit” and to move beyond our obsession with quarterly earnings and short-term growth. Plan A — the pursuit of short-term profit at the exclusion of everything else — isn’t working for anyone. It’s not working for businesses’ long-term sustainability, and it’s not working for employees’ well-being. And at a time when so many governments are gridlocked and paralysed and unable or unwilling to pursue big, bold, far-sighted goals, the private sector has a responsibility and a unique opportunity to become a catalyst for fundamental change.
Many of my fellow B Team members are gathering today in London for our kick-off event. They come from all over the world and include microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Indian businessman Ratan Tata, Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault, United Nations Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, Sudanese-British telecommunications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, Brazilian social entrepreneur Guilherme Leal, Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa, the Arison Group’s Shari Arison, Broad Group China Chairman and Founder Zhang Yue, and Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
We share a belief that a future focused on people, planet and profit is within reach, and that in the long run, what is good for our planet, for individuals and for communities, is good for our businesses’ bottom lines as well. As Richard and Jochen write, we want to define “new rules and models for the future of business — not incremental ‘change as usual.’”
We also want to start conversations on how current and future leaders, by adhering to the Plan B principles, can avoid the missteps that have led to so many of our current self-inflicted crises. On an individual level, people are burning out. On a company level, we are at the mercy of quarterly earnings and beating the expectations game. And on a collective level, we’re burning up the planet. We need leaders who are committed to strategic plans centered on an agenda of people, planet and profit — and not just token gestures to sustainability and short-term goals.
And those of us in the media have to do a much better job at putting the spotlight on what is working. There is a real danger that by focusing exclusively on what is not working and what is dysfunctional, we are missing out on spotlighting the leaders and organisations already taking steps to change the way we do business around the world.
This is a moment of great possibility and opportunity for all of us to play our part in course-correcting, and leveraging the best parts of the spirit of business and entrepreneurship to bring about fundamental changes to the ways we do business — for the benefit of individuals, communities, and companies.
So please join the B Team and help us accelerate that shift by putting the spotlight on business leaders at the forefront of this movement and connecting them with each other. And as always, use the comments section to let us know what you think.
Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. This post originally appeared here.
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