Coming up on the anniversary of our first full year as a B Corp has me reflecting on the past year and the efforts we have made to date at living out our commitment to use business as a force for good. More importantly, it has me reflecting on our obligation to not sit on our laurels, but on the contrary, to get out of bed and embrace the opportunity a new day provides with the desire and the hope that today, we can do something more to better fulfill our pledge.
That’s what I love about the B Corp certification process. It doesn’t just provide a one-time threshold to cross, it challenges us – daily – to strive to do better – to do more good. To never be satisfied with the status quo. Fortunately for us, we have the inspiration provided by many fellow B Corps that refuse to elect, or to settle, for the status quo.
Reflection brings to mind last September at UC Berkley’s Haas School of Business, when I had the opportunity to share the stage with the inspirational B Corps that had achieved the Best For The World status – the top 10% of all B Corps. No, KO had not then, nor have we yet achieved that monumental pinnacle. In fact, as I reminded the hundreds of changemakers in attendance that day, as a brand new baby B Corp, we symbolize the 10% of B Corps that make the top 90% possible! I also shared with them that the sheer enormity of achieving Best For The World status was not lost on us, nor was the mission that drives them to set the bar so stratospherically high. The urgency of which, had become even clearer to me just a few days before last September’s event.
I was at church listening to our pastor. We call him PT, short for Pastor Tim. It seems that frequently, PT is quoting that prodigious bastion of spiritual philosophy, that transcendent speaker of divine truth, a true mystic of supernatural veracity, Bruce Springsteen. And so it was the Sunday before the September 8th event when PT quoted the following from Springsteen. It came from something he said to his audience during a concert regarding the reason why he was, at that time, out on tour, reprising his 1980 quintuple-platinum solo album, The River.
Springsteen said this:
“The River was about time. Time slipping away. How once you enter the adult life you choose your partners, choose your work, and the people you are going to live with. You walk alongside, not only them, but you walk alongside your own mortality. And you realize you have a limited amount of time to do your work, to raise your family, and to try and do something good.”
In the moment PT uttered those words I had an epiphany. It hit me that we as a firm, in our 23rd year, were experiencing our own adulthood. And we, like Springsteen, were walking along side our own mortality mindful of the limited amount of time and the limited opportunities we had to do our work.
As I contemplate the completion of one short year of our ambitious goal and look forward to the 365 challenges, opportunities, and achievements that the year to come will offer, I am once again reminded that time is slipping away and our aspiration to try and do something good could not be more urgent.
For us at KO, something good, is freely choosing to use our business as a perpetual force for good.