We have chosen the term “personal” very deliberately and attribute to the word a specific meaning. While in today’s vocabulary “personal” is a conflicted and contested term that crosses a broad spectrum of colloquial and conventional meanings from private (as in “that’s personal information”), to individualized (as in the “personal computer”), to special or particular (as in “a personal friend”) to subjective or targeted (as in a “personal attack”) what we mean by the term is none of these things. Rather, the Personal we are talking about implies an enterprise or organization that exists for the sake of another, not itself.  

A fundamental attribute is that the Purpose of the enterprise lies not in the accumulation of wealth for owners, though that may occur, but in the realization of a Purpose that serves the need of others.  This is not a business that just happens to have social meaning. It is a social Purpose that happens to be housed within a business organization. As a result, and to the best of its collective ability, such a business (and the people who make it up) promotes values like personal relationships, personal growth, personal journey and personal flourishing. That is, above all the Personal Enterprise consists of a relational “self” that exists both with and for the “other.”

We use and value the person as having a strong sense of a personal narrative, in strength of character, in keeping one’s word, not for self-indulgence but for ever richer inter-personal bonds, for the benefit of the other. Ethics become the incentive rather than morality, that is, a personal desire for the good of others has stronger persuasion than ‘morality’ as a socialized norm. Such self-constancy is marked by a personal story of lasting friendships, as evidence of constancy, loyalty, transparency, trust, and dependability.

Being a person in fact invites becoming more of a person, to transform competition into mutual trust, invoke community and collaboration, and extend technical skills into new relational potentials. A team of ‘persons’ within a business context have far greater prospects and capabilities than a bureaucracy of slaves, or even an intelligent organization of skilled servants.

 

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