Quakers and Business Group
Promoting Quaker values in Business and the Workplace

News Update - December 2009

(Click here to go straight to your actions)

STATE OF PLAY

As I write, I have just returned from Q&B Management Committee meeting in Friends House and the annual conference was the previous week at Friends House. I ask myself what does it feel like (to me) attending and reflecting on the inner dynamics of the process I perceived. As it happens, I have been serving on Meeting for Sufferings and Quaker Peace and Social Witness Central Committees of the Religious Society of Friends for the past 3 years and joined Q&B’s Nominations committee during that time. I have found my service on central committees frustrating in some ways and in contrast, attending Q&B events invigorating.

At all these recent Q&B events I began to feel the dynamics of the Society of Friends, which created the large Quaker enterprises in the first place. This new world that we are creating is one that is bringing the innovative force of the holy spirit to the fore. We are each doing different things in business, but at Q&B meetings we are sharing an ethical vision and a force for action, which embraces the creative force of business enterprise. It seems to me that Q&B is becoming a new growth point within the UK Quaker movement.

It was a wonder, to see business Friends saying what can be done and discussing and seeking to find growth points and points of collaboration and ways to grow a new vision and world order. I have over recent months seen discussions taking place over meals, over coffee, in gardens, and in committee all bound together by the enfolding and protecting power of the silence.

To take this process forward, we need energy and we need you to come forward to help, not just so that you gain from the process but that you give and gain more. The nominations committee will be trying to contact members and need to know what you need, what you can tell us about yourself and your expertise, what you can input into business and Q&B initiatives. So, take the initiative and Tell nominations committee of your expertise and willingness to serve Q&B (see Q&B web pages for Noms Com names)

MANAGEMENT OF Q&B

We have decided to manage the activities of the group via a set of smaller working groups. These will cover the four areas of: membership, nominations, media and events. The events group is in need of helpers in particular to avoid organisation of Q&B events falling on the shoulders of the same few Friends. Please contact nominations committee if you feel you have ideas and organisational skills to give to the events group. Members of nominations committee are named on the Q&B web site (I am one).

QUAKER BUSINESS CONFERENCE 2009

Our evening 24th – all day 25th November 2009 conference on “Looking at business Success” was our first in London. It was well received and was attended by a range of different members due to the new geographical location. It proved an event full of energy, perhaps because the topics covered were broader as well as more specifically focused on critical aspects of business-doing, than at other conferences I have attended. We heard from a wide variety of speakers and saw something of the Quaker business world and Quaker business activity, which is not apparent or recognised within mainstream Quaker circles. We all received some things to take away and try in our own settings. (More in The Friend) Now, to our FOUR 2010 Face to Face Events NB NB! Each of these could do with some more cheerful help to make them fly. From you, please, Friend? Contact me, Roger Hill on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COACHING SKILLS WORKSHOP

On 18-19 January, a 24 hr coaching course is being organised at Charney Manor by recognised experts in the field (Sandra Goddard and Alastair Russell) and is being well received by those who value coaching as part of the management repertoire when leading a company. Places are limited so book early. Book early if you want to attend this course. We are assured it is a valuable opportunity to grow your skills in this area.[NB insufficient interest in the Workshop has meant that it has had to be postponed indefintiely.]

SPRING GATHERING & AGM

Will be held at Redlands Meeting House, Bristol on Saturday 24th April 2010. Nick Pyatt will develop a theme but is seeking more help to ensure the event will be successful. We hope the topic may be centred around “growth, ownership and stewardship” at the economy level of reality. In its whole economy level, current breaking edge of the wave, global trends focuses, Spring Gathering complements our November Conference’s focus on our actual realities in business and the workplace.

NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS GROUP

The NXD group meets 18.00hrs, Monday 24th to 17.00hrs Tuesday 25th May ’10 . This looks like another “not to be missed” event looking at the very topical “Sustainable Finance”. We hope to see a medley of interesting speakers.

QUAKER BUSINESS CONFERENCE 2010

Please diarise evening Tuesday 16-all day Weds 17 November. This conference is still some way off but we hope it will look at re-defining the ways and means of actually doing business the Quaker way, including speaking truth to power and leading and facilitating change for the better in business. This could also include issues of stakeholders and governance. But, what would you like included? What bites you?

And also: Connecting 21st Century Style

INTERCOMMUNICATION AND COMMUNICATING TO THE WIDER WORLD

First off, there is the Q&B website, our own public shop window for doing some of our public benefit work, and also housing our Q&B members’ information, services and organisational stuff. Have a look.

But now in addition, Jo Poole has been doing a sterling job in encouraging us to use the Q&B media that she and other have put in place. So you can join the Q&B Linked-in group. This is now considered a useful point of publicity and discussion but make sure you enter your business details on Q&B web page.

I would not disagree with the view of some that Twitter and Facebook are of limited use in meeting the serious and important aims of Q&B Group. But there are Q&B spaces in each of them if you want to try…

WHERE NEXT?

So you can see from the items above that lots of initiative are emerging within Quakers and Business Group. What seems to be particularly true in today’s world is that at last we have a convergence of concern about the environment with a realisation that what the French call “the Anglo-Saxon” model of economics and capitalism is at last being questioned after a generation of assuming free markets will fix everything. Quakers are well positioned to comment and generate initiatives in this area. But it needs your participation in the mix. Come to an event and volunteer to begin that process.

Post script

Q&B Group have won sponsorship of £85 for an Urdu translation of the Green book, together with an invitation to send a copy directly to CEO at Citigroup the global bank, together with a recommendation from one of his colleagues.

And, from the website you can download our Business Principles translated into French, German, Mandarin, Portugese, Russian and (next week) Spanish.

As for bank bonuses – they just have not yet realised the world of the 1980s has now ended!

In parting, here’s a real business world ethical question for you: The new 50% income tax band is flagged for next April. If you could have the portion of your annual pay above £150k pa (whether basic or bonus) all paid to you in advance of the change, ie during Jan-March, and so legally avoid paying any tax at all in the new tax band, would you do so?

Actions for you as a member:

1. Volunteer for the Events Group if you have something to contribute.

2. Reserve a place on the coaching course if it is of interest [NB - now postponed indefinitely.]

3. Diarise the 2010 Spring Gathering and the autumn Business Conference

4. Attend the Non-executive directors group meeting in 2010 if of interest

5. Put details of yourself and your business on Q&B web directory

6. Join Q&B Linked-in Group (find it on Google)

7. Tell nominations committee of your expertise and willingness to serve Q&B (see Q&B web pages for nominations committee names)

Roger Hill 3 December 2010

STOP PRESS

You may recall Newsletter writer Sue Dawson’s project with unemployed young people, to teach them skills and help them achieve via their own creativity? Well, Sue writes:

“We have managed to raise the money for the Fly Me Home Project - and it flies its balloon from St Pauls Cathedral on Friday Dec 11th if all goes well… now that's a good news story!”

FLY ME HOME is a new social enterprise that gets excluded young people off the streets and into work. They are making a TV documentary and flying a hot air balloon across the country to raise awareness and in doing so will gain qualifications, job opportunities and housing support. To learn more, Sue on tel 020 8444 6854 mobile 07752 142 362 Or click on www.film-it.org.uk . Well done Sue and well done all your partners too!