why bettermeans?

The way we work together, needs an upgrade

We are facing mounting social, environmental and economic problems. A lot of us want to work toward solving them and we are learning that these problems are interconnected, and complex.

We are trying to solve these problems using organizational structures that were invented before the light bulb! Industrial-age organizations are not smart or flexible enough to navigate the challenges we are facing.

To change our world, we need a new agreement of how we work together. How we make decisions. How we decide on who gets to work on what. And who gets paid what.

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created themAlbert Einstein

Social Entrepreneurs: Helping others do great work

Two thirds of Americans have an idea for an entrepreneurial venture but only a tenth of them will carry through with it. There are very few real sources of capital available for social entrepreneurs, and the current capital market, with very few exceptions, demands exponential growth from young startups with oppressive contractual agreements.

Innovations in social entrepreneurship are choked by the lack of supportive funding channels and the difficulty of finding and recruiting the appropriate workforce. Entrepreneurs need better access to capital and talent, they need passionate people who will work because they believe in the idea, and commit to projects without being told what to do.

The Open Enterprise Model is a way for people with ideas to connect to others and get those ideas off the ground with minimal bureaucracy or resistance. It harnesses the collective wisdom, creativity, passion, and productivity of a dispersed crowd - whether in one city block or across oceans - and channels their efforts in order to simply get good work done! Which is the real reason the majority of us wake up in the morning, to do good work in this world.

We will need a willingness to question our most deeply held habitual ways of seeing organizations and management. We will need a willingness eventually to embrace the seeming chaos of an organization that no one ‘runs’ and where we all share responsibility. We will need to embrace continual mistake-making and correcting, nature’s learning process. And we will need a willingness to surrender the personal need to control—‘the closet Newtonian’ that resides in all of us.Dee Hock, CEO and Founder of Visa

For thousands of years, markets and hierarchies were the only alternatives when it came to aggregating human effort. Now there's a third option: real-time, distributed networks. Gary Hamel
Voted #1 business thinker by the Wall Street Journal

The Engagement Gap

Our organizations are failing to engage us, and provide a place where our purpose comes alive.

85% of people are disengaged from their work. Two of the top five reasons given are management and misalignment of values.

The Internet provides us with tools to connect and work together, but the management system we're using cannot keep up; it's over 100 years old and was modeled after old military thinking.

Collapse of the Corporate Model

Simply put, today's corporate organizational structure is outdated. The conventional business model is broken.

It’s broken because 67% of American workers are actively unhappy with their jobs.

In fact, job dissatisfaction has increased steadily by a whopping 16% over the past 20 years. And this trend shows no sign of slowing. Notably, the most dissatisfied portion of the work force is the upcoming Generation Y—those under the age of 25.

It’s broken because the current organizational structure cannot adapt as fast as the world is changing.

Today's business model originated before plumbing and electricity—long before a global marketplace, multi-national competitors, and rapid technological change. The pace is quickening. In 2008 the number of patent applications received was over twice the number of applications in 1998, just 10 years prior. The current top-down model makes it impossible for a single leader or small team of decision-makers to discover, research, implement and dictate new protocols as fast the global landscape is demanding adaptation.

It’s broken because in a top-down system, innovation is being smothered.

The top must dictate behavior by creating endless manuals covering corporate procedures, protocols and policies. Threatened with punitive actions or loss of paycheck, workers throw away common sense in favor of a rigid adherence to the rules... leaving entire organizations nearly bereft of clear-minded decision makers, and stamping out intelligent risk-taking and the innovations that would follow.

For me, this is a familiar image - people in the organization ready and willing to do good work, wanting to contribute their ideas, ready to take responsibility, and leaders holding them back, insisting that they wait for decisions or instructions.Margarate J. Wheatley

It’s broken because mistrust between the general public and corporate entities is at an all-time high.

U.S. law entitles corporate entities the same legal rights as human citizens-- at the same time it lacks a clear means to hold these corporate citizens accountable. The resutl is power without responsibility, and we have only to look to Enron, Halliburton, or the recent housing crisis to understand the ill effects of this lopsided agreement.

It’s broken because a workforce driven, coerced, and manipulated by a system of punishments and rewards, leaves very little room for ingenuity, cooperation, honesty, or respect. That is, our humanity.

It creates a culture that sees people (both customers and coworkers) as objects to be manipulated for profit. It rewards office politics and unethical behavior—often at the expense of the company’s true goals. The result is resentment from both employees and customers alike—and resentment erodes profits.

It’s broken because the current business model focuses on goals, and thus acts as if the ends can justify the means.

In such an organization, the what to do is never lost. Only the why it is being done. And when the why gets lost, Merck ends up selling poison in the name of "healing the sick"... Monsanto keeps a strangle-hold on the world’s supply of seeds and uses profoundly unethical and illegal practices to ruin traditional farmers in the name of "feeding the hungry"... And Nike uses sweatshop labor, abuses workers, and pays well below 3rd world minimum wages—even circumventing local laws to do so... all in the name of "inspiring today's youth to reach their highest potential."

Ethics is the new competitive environmentPeter Robinson, CEO Mountain Equipment Co-op

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