This Saturday I'm going to be speaking to a group of Toastmasters. The idea of preparing a speech was a little too much for the time I had to prepare (and the season I am in) so when they offered me a Q&A instead, I jumped at the chance. Toastmasters work really hard at refining the art of public speaking...my public speaking has been limited to banter from behind the espresso bar for the last couple of years. The invitation to speak was given because of my emphasis on a theme they wanted to target, "community". The link to the meetup has the headline "Learn How Leaders Break the Rules". This seeming mix matched theme got me thinking about how the ideas can actually fit together for me.
Business Is Not About Playing by the Rules
Sure, as business owners we have to follow seeming endless rules set by the County, City, State & Federal entities. This government oversight is typically aimed at safety, setting low expectations that enable businesses to exploit people & extracting/re-appropriating wealth from local communities. Outside of that, the "rules" are tried and true business principles and best practices for business. Following these rules lead to abiding by dominate practices concerning resource allocation, growth & capitalistic dreams that reinforce what turns out to be the great dystopian American Dream (which sounds like a blog I'd like to write, I'll add a link when I write it).
The key to breaking the rules is not buying into the dominate narratives & practices that seem to dictate what life should be like, how we live our life together, how we treat customers, prospects and all other people and how we consume products and utilize services. Governmental entities, big business, trends, draw people toward what is perceived to be normal, how things are done, a narrative to be bought into, or not. At best these are typically minimum standards. We all know that the minimum wage is not even close to a living wage. We all know that to afford the American Dream two adults need to work 40 or more hours each week in order to have a place to live and resources to maintain that dream. (read a blog about our thirty hour workweek here) Every business and every individual has the opportunity to set their own standards & practices and begin writing a new narrative.
We Set Our Own Standards
We have rallied around people, place, coffee since the beginning. It's shaped how we consider the intersection of people/place/coffee in how our first espresso bar is embedded in and participates with the surrounding community. It has shaped our emphasis on being in and for the community and how we provide a platform for neighbors to live life together. Our standards and practices have not been shaped on normal, they've been shaped by a commitment to embrace who we are, where we are.
We want nothing more than to see our business raise the bar for people, place and coffee for the common good of all.
Healthy community means different perspectives and opinions. We welcome and work for diversity. Differences in our community are prevalent, we are participating with neighbors for inclusivity. A diverse and inclusive community creates depth and texture to our relationships and we become stronger, more informed and more considerate people.
As we succeed with our business, people will be taken care of, the community will be stronger and more connected. We'll be more prepared than ever to make a bigger impact on the world that we live in. It's still business but it is our business and our standards for how we work, live and grow and we want nothing more than to see our business raise the bar for people, place and coffee for the good of all.
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- Tags: Best practices, community cause, Living wage, Local Economy, People Place Coffee, Philosophy, Portland small business, Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters, Workweek