The Business Bill of Rights

As Margaret Thatcher once said “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy”

The philosophy that was used to build America is defined in the Constitution.

Our founding fathers declared we are entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and they created the infrastructure (legal systems, congress, and executive branch for example) to allow us to engage and measure our progress.

The Constitution is the document that the Supreme Court uses to provide clarity on issues when necessary. The Supreme Court judges try to understand what our founding fathers wanted to express and their court decisions are based on and tested against the vision created by our founding fathers.

This great country has lasted for more than 200 years using this system. Is it perfect, no; but it works.

If our country was built on a philosophy, shouldn’t a business be built on a philosophy? The business vision should follow from and define the business philosophy. Could you imagine a company that makes decisions that are grounded in a guiding philosophy? Many of the successful one do.

The United States has grown and prospered because the fabric of our country is imbued with the basic understanding that we are individually responsible for our actions and our situation. We can create redress through the courts when necessary but the foundation of the Constitution is taking ownership, action, and responsibility.

If this concept works so well and for so long in our government, can you imagine how a business can be built using this proven principle. Why don’t businesses create a document that is the corner stone of the business? They can use this document for fundamental decision making. When written correctly this document would be flexible enough to change as the business changes. It would explain the fundamental philosophy behind the business and the purpose for the business. It would serve to define and attract the type of employees that would flourish.

A business then could articulate its “Bill of Rights.” This “Bill of Rights” would be used for decision making. It might read something like this:

1. This business is in business to make money and be profitable.

2. This business is a social entity that creates jobs and feeds families and provides a valuable service to the community.

3. Profits from this business should not be limited except by the value of the product and services as perceived and dictated by the market. This assumes no price gouging or unfair practices.

4. The essence of any business is its people. As individuals, each person is responsible for providing value for the opportunity to work here.

5. This business will treat each individual employee as an investment that provides value to this business.

6. Each employee will be treated with respect and dignity and afforded the opportunity to create a position that allows them a satisfying and productive work life.

7. This business, being a part of a bigger community, has the obligation to be a valuable member of that community and make that community better through active community participation by its employees.

8. These articles can be amended as necessary by 2/3 majority of the management team and 50% majority of the employees.

9. Each person hired will be empowered to their job. This will be done by a management team that will assume the responsibility for implementing these “rights.”

10. We are in business to provide a fair and valuable service to our customers and clients. If our clients and customer do not treat us with the same respect and dignity, we have the right to fire them.

We have a privilege to work but no one owes us a job. If we do not take responsibility for keeping our skills current we must accept the responsibility of our actions.

At the same time a company has the obligation to help employees maintain marketable skills. Employees cannot contribute if they do not have the necessary skills. Management, if they are doing their job, will navigate the company through changing market conditions. Employees need to be aware of these changes and given an opportunity to prepare, contribute and participate in these changes.

Businesses are major part of most communities. They need to be actively involved in the community and help guide the community to be the best it can be. Usually what is best for the community is good for business. If the community plans to implement actions that will negatively impacts the business community, the community needs to take a step back and understand why they are biting the hand that feeds them. They must accept the responsibility for their actions just a business must accept this responsibility. I am all for change but it must be well thought out and well executed.

Build a vision for your company as if you are building the constitution of the United States. Invest your company with the same kind of clarity of purpose as the founders of our country articulated in constitution. Build your corporate vision to last not only for your life time but the lifetime of your children and their children; on through time.

Ronald Finklestein, President of AKRIS, LLC, small business success expert, business coach, consultant, speaker, author, and trainer, has published two books: Celebrating Success! Fourteen Ways to a Successful Company and The Platinum Rule to Small Business Success. You can contact him at or reach him at (330) 990–0788. Sign up for his newsletter at

Author:. Ron Finklestein Small Business Success Expert 330-990-0788 Ronald Finklestein, President of RPF GROUP INC, small business success expert, business coach, consultant, speaker, author, and trainer, has published three business books: 49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to Grow Sales, Nine Principles for Inspired Action and The Platinum Rule to Small Business Mastery. Order your free eBook called Six Questions Your Prospects Want ...

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