The Bullog – July 2022

Roe v Wade:  Might business do the Rights thing?

Should business have a role in underpinning the basic human rights of its employees? 

The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade on the 24th of June, the landmark 1973 ruling on womens’ Constitutional rights to an abortion, is a decision with massive ramifications within US society and well beyond.

For those who have been on the moon over the past two weeks let me provide some brief context. Donald Trump, having been able to nominate three Justices to the Supreme Court during his four year tenure, has hard baked a 6 to 3 Conservative majority into the court, whose ruling brought about this momentous decision on abortion rights for women.  This is a decision supported (and no doubt applauded) by an estimated 36% of the population (roughly the same number who still believe Donald trump was cheated out of the last election) while the remaining majority of the population look on in disbelief. A total of 13 States have already introduced so called “trigger bans” and up to half of all states are likely to follow suit to enforce the ruling.

I’ve often claimed that The Bullog is A-political and focusses instead on issues related to business in society and the role it can play in improving it.  However, I’m increasingly of the belief that business and politics are starting to converge.  We’re witnessing the breakdown of traditional 20th century democratic institutions, while conversely, we’re starting to see the emergence of something analogous to more democratic corporations, as power shifts downwards and outwards – from shareholder interests to wider stakeholders, employees in particular.

What has been the response from business thus far?

Many corporations have openly stated that they will fund out of state travel for their employees to access legal abortion clinics if required as part of a holistic approach to healthcare (LIN.  The question is: should big business be doing more?

Corporate influence on society has often been criticised for being too powerful and having a negative impact?  Am I naive to suggest that this influence could instead be leveraged for the greater good and step in where government seems to be failing the majority of its population?

That’s a highly contentious statement I know, but conservative Justice Samuel Alito stated in his ruling that they are not going to stop at abortion rights and have already moved on to expanding gun ownership and restricting the US Environmental Protection Agency’s power to introduce climate change regulations.   Rumours abound that gay marriage will be next in the firing line.  Where does it stop and where does the fightback begin?

Corporations are not yet democracies, but I do wonder what the opinions would be in a straw poll of Apple, Google or Amazon employees, all with demographically much more young and liberal attitudes. I suspect that the vast majority would be strongly opposed to the Supreme Court’s decisions on these issues. No doubt many of these same citizen employees will have joined marches and demonstrations to make their views known. But instead of (or as well as) taking to the streets in protest, might they be able to have more impact by exerting their power and influence collectively on the response of their employer?

Apple have invested an estimated one trillion dollars in a new HQ in Austin,  Texas and Amazon many other large companies seem to be investing massive amounts in this traditionally conservative state. Indeed, Texas was one of the first to introduce a “trigger ban” on abortion.  How will Apple employees feel about being based in a State that has withdrawn “a woman’s right to choose”?  How should they make their views known to Apple’s leadership and what should they ask them to do?  Apple’s CEO Tim Cook may not be directly impacted by abortion rights, but as the first Fortune 500 CEO to courageously come out as gay in 2014, he would no doubt have strong views were the rights to Gay Marriage be withdrawn by the State.  And were Cook, backed by a strong democratic mandate from his employees to threaten reversing billion dollar investment decisions based on his ability to attract and retain talent, how might that influence knee jerk anti-democratic decisions at the level of the State?

No, I don’t have all the answers to these questions and I may well be opening a can of worms by raising them.  But these are conversations I’d like to provoke at the virtual water coolers of these global corporations in an effort to encourage them to do “the Right” thing.

Festina Lente

In the June BullogI talked about our plans to run an innovate co-working session to collaborate on the next iteration of the Craigberoch post(?) pandemic Business Plan.  We had a fabulous group of people from across Europe, each bringing unique skills and perspectives.  We applied our “deceleration” approach to how we worked during the day with meditation, beach walks, creative exercises. Also how we played in the evening with a Scottish Ceilidh, fire circles where we shared songs and co-created poetry and artworks.  Here’s some feedback from one participant which I think sums up the experience well.


“I came to Bute to test deceleration without expectationsWhat happens if I don’t feel guilty about all the tasks I need to complete and can observe, listen to others ? It was hard.  It helped me to see that there is so much in the world that we don’t notice.  You see things about yourself, the colours in the fire, words of poems, tones of voices, smell of grass in the forest.  Suddenly these things become important ».

This led to amazing results.  We need to bottle that sort of experience and sell litre after litre to a business world that is thirsty for change!

Best of the rest……

One of the highlights of the last month was an in-person meeting with the MP for Argyll and Bute, Brendan O’Hara, in his office in Westminster. Brendan had been made aware of the Craigberoch Business Decelerator during a visit to Bute (thanks to Ellen Potter on our Core Team) and was keen to find out more. He seemed genuinely very interested and was willing to provide whatever support he can as we grow the business.  I’m thinking about what the ask should be.

I’ve also had a few very constructive discussions with big corporations over the past month about our “BE2B” (our version of B2B) offering. There seems to be interest in bespoke workshops, both virtually and increasingly in person, to really liven up team meetings and create more inspiring, engaging and creative workplaces, with one eye of course on employee well-being.

If any of you reading this want to find out more, then I’ll be happy to arrange a call to explore what we could do with your own team.

On the personal front…….

I spent most of June in Scotland and it was quite a lively month for many reasons. One highlight was a trip with my mother, together with my sister’s family, for her 80th Birthday to the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.  Covid meant this was two years late, but top of her bucket list was that she had always wanted to land on the beach in the little Logan Air Plane, whose schedules are dictated by the tides.   The white sandy beaches on Barra are as good as any I’ve seen in the Caribbean, although admittedly the weather is slightly different.

Besides that, I attended another Geneva Gospel Choir weekend which was great fun and also had a few days golfing with friends in Florida. I celebrated my Birthday in an open air bar on a little island on Lake Geneva which was lovely.  

Last but not least did I mention that I bought a house? Yes, I became the proud owner of Upper Montford House on the Isle Bute (Check out the video), moving in upstairs for my good friends Gordon and Sarah. This will provide a long-term foothold to spend more time on the beautiful island of my birth but repatriation is not imminent!

OK, that’s more than enough for now folks. If you enjoy this monthly ramble then do feel free to suggest others sign up here.  Until next month,

Gib

* The Bullog  = Bulloch + Blog

Make sense?  Not bulldog, nor is it bulls**t although I’ll let you be the judge of that! It’s a brief synopsis on recent articles, events and opinions from my world and the things that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.  If it’s not for you then feel free to unsubscribe below.