Positive Business: Celebrate what’s right?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Positive Business

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Should business be a force for positive change in the world?
Or, is the sole purpose of business to make money for its owners?

The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has taken a stand on the matter, making “positive” the keystone of its mission to be the global center for excellence in positive business and to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. And, this week, you can learn all about it at the first annual conference on positive business taking place on May 15–17, 2014, at the Ross School (Ann Arbor, MI). Does positive business appeal to you? (Click the image, above, to visit the conference’s website.)

Positive business is an ethical position with explicit values and principles. One of these is called “Celebrate what’s right with the world.” This is a philosophy espoused by award-winning professional photographer Dewitt Jones, who learned it from the National Geographic when he worked as a photojournalist for the organization. I show his training video “Celebrate what’s right with the world” on the first class meeting of every business course I teach at the Ross School.

“Celebrate what’s right” is what the National Geographic charged him with each time they sent him out. He says it changed his perspective on the world and inspired his work as a photographer. The perspective doesn’t deny reality. It doesn’t deny what’s wrong with the world. Rather, it shifts our perspective, gives a more positive way of viewing the world, and opens up a world of new possibilities.

On his website, he puts it this way. “Every day we are inundated with messages that tell us what’s wrong with the world. It’s not surprising that we lose sight of all the things that are right with it; of all that is truly worth celebrating. As a photographer, I have a choice of what lens I put on my camera; a choice of how I am going to view the world. I choose to celebrate. Why? Because it imbues me with gratitude, because it allows me to see the best in people and situations, because it fills me with energy.” For more of his message—and some truly stunning photography—I encourage you to visit his site.

What do you think of the idea of celebrating what’s right with the world?

What about the concept of positive business?

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Comments

  1. Bob Bruttell says

    I agree that business should have a positive impact on our world. Of course the issue then becomes how we define positive. In a market defined economy where does business structure itself to eliminate poverty rather than reinforcing poverty by giving charity? How does business use resources in ways that do not deplete them and adequately compensate society for their use? How does business adequately compensate people so that the gulf between those with a realistic opportiunity to thrive and enjoy a middle class life and those who cannot does not grow ever more wide?