What If We Designed Our Businesses to Support Natural Rhythms?
Spring Equinox has arrived, and spring is officially springing in the Northern Hemisphere, y’all! When the pandemic arrived in 2020, I found myself paying more attention to the rhythms of the planet and thinking about how we might align the rhythms of our business to the natural rhythms in the world. Spring is a time when plants push out of the thawing ground, and when many animals have litters. We find in our business, it’s a good time to plant seeds of new ideas and collaborations, and to set intentions for what we want to create in the world.
I believe the intentions you build a business with act like magic. Intentions about how a business will operate cast a spell on the business and shape what that business becomes and how people work together. That’s why if you are committed to infusing liberatory principles like those I outlined in “How to Infuse Liberatory Principles into Your Work Practices” (https://hbr.org/2022/12/how-to-infuse-liberatory-practices-into-work-practices), you must intentionally Design for Liberation.
As I explain in the article, our traditional business models are built to center principles of extraction and domination. To create more liberatory work environments, we must design our practices to center reciprocity and liberation.
This means exploring ways to change how power is distributed and decisions are made in your organization. It means designing for intentional rest and reflection. It means paying attention to the rhythms of your team, and designing your workflows to match. It means ensuring there are accountability and repair structures and rituals. It means examining what metrics of success are used, and ensuring the economic metrics do not necessitate extraction to be successful. To be clear, using economics (e.g., “we can’t afford to fix the pay gap right now,” “if our team doesn’t work 55 hours a week, we won’t be as profitable”) as an excuse to justify maintaining an extractive business model does not absolve business leaders from their complicity of perpetuating an exploitative and extractive model, and the inequity that results. If you want diversity, equity, and inclusion to thrive, you must eliminate extraction. Re-imaging your practices is an important part of aligning your business with liberation.
As we begin spring, what intentions will you set for supporting liberation in your workplace?
We’re planning on sharing more resources in the coming months on how to infuse liberatory principles into workplaces via our newsletter, so be sure to sign up for our mailing list: https://www.theequitypractice.com/newsletter