This Way Forward; a month of change for #BCorpMonth

Contemplating our B Corp journey so far, and where we're headed next.

March was all about change and impact for us, which felt in nice alignment with the fact that it was B Corp Month (our first) and the theme this year was “this way forward”.

Throughout the month, we participated in virtual and in-person events hosted by BLab and different B Corps across the UK. We even hosted a RISE dinner in Manchester, bringing together other B Corps and people leaders to talk about our real (and often tricky) experiences of leading and being in charge.

Over the past few weeks, I've had many conversations with people asking about the process of becoming certified, how we’ve found it as an organisation, and the difference we think it’s made (so far). BLab often speaks about B Corp certification being a journey, not a destination, and it’s just that; I feel like we’ve only just got started, and there’s still a long way to go to ensure the way we work, how we organise, the work we do, and the impact it has are progressive and sustainable for the planet, people and profit.

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Below, I share some of the things I've taken from our journey so far and the conversations I’ve been a part of in the hope they are useful for others if they are considering a similar path.

Change isn’t easy; connection matters; community counts

Our work, and that of B Corp, is calling into question ways of working and the extracting and exhausting practices that exist within our organisations and businesses. This is easy to say but much harder to do. Any process of change is tricky, particularly when you’re challenging the status quo, encouraging honesty, and trying to iterate a way forward with no clear answers or solutions. There is often no way of making everyone happy in the process.

We’ve been in the process of restructuring, and as with many of our clients, the process is emotional, tiring, and provokes a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. One thing we know that counts is ensuring there is space for processing and connection as a group to support each other through the period of intense change. And yet, even with this in place, you have to accept the unpredictable emotional ride of letting go and adapting to the unknown, which can show up in wonderfully messy and sometimes quite painful and confronting ways!

At our Manchester dinner, many spoke to this reality, raising questions about the tensions and dilemmas that were real for them right now. It was a reminder that almost everyone is in this type of process in some way in their careers, their organisations, and their lives, and compassion and thoughtfulness are key as we support each other. It brings me back to that saying:

“you never know what someone is going through, be kind. always”

One thing I’ve been struck by so far, particularly as we’ve engaged with the various events and gatherings, is the willingness and power of the community within and across B Corp. We look forward to deepening our relationships and connecting with others in the coming months.


Strong Foundations for Sustainable Growth

Aside from community, the main difference this process has made so far has been the foundations it’s put in place for us as a small organisation in a phase of growth. It asked us to consider things we might not have done yet, but in doing so, we’ve been able to invest and implement processes that will (hopefully) ensure the sustainability of growth for the business (profit) and also for our people (associates, staff, clients and partners) and the planet.

We’re already seeing a shift in how we consider challenges, make decisions, and allocate resources. In some of the trickier conversations we’ve had, the framework of the BLab Assessment has given us some grounding as to what the right way forward should be.

Achieving BCorp certification made us proud of our journey so far, but it was also a bit of a wake-up call to the journey that’s ahead for us if we’re going to see the progress we desire and critically need for the state of the planet and society.