Fast Company

Seventh Generation Values II

There are a variety of other values based things we do. Every year we take several days and have a staff retreat where we explore what our values mean, how well we are doing at living them and in what ways can we make changes to better live those values. We are just completing our first corporate social responsibility report (due out on Earth Day 4/22/04) to publicly set forth how well we are doing, how we intend to measure ourselves, what a "good job" means and what goals we are setting for ourselves in the future.

We also integrate personal, community and value based goals into everyone's job description and performance expectations. How well our employees do on dealing with their personal and community goals impacts how much of a bonus they earn. We also do 360 degree reviews, use coaches to facilitate interpersonal development, provide on site massages, take two days a year to snow shoe, raft or just walk through the woods together, insist that everyone in the company serves on a committee like our "green team" or "community service group" and a long list of other activities. We focus pretty obsessively on the importance of work-life balance.

Does all this take away from our business success? Not at all, we've been growing at about 25% a year for the past five years. We are profitable and have become the nation's leading brand of natural, non-toxic household products.

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2 Comments

  • Donald E. L. Johnson

    All of your preaching about social values would mean something if we didn't have religious leaders and terrorists trying to tell us how to live and what to believe. It would mean a lot more if religious leaders weren't trying to pass instrusive laws and terrorists weren't trying to kill us.

    And all the talk about corporate social responsiblity included some discussion of the ethics of those who sit on the sidelines, dreaming up ways to deprive people of their private property, their wealth and their ability to earn honest livings.

    I've spent a full career creating jobs, producing information that helps people make good personal and business decisions and promoting integrity in business and government. Yet, your whole approach to the world irritates the dickens out of me, because it reeks of arrogance, ignorance of the real world and profiteering at the expense of the naive.

    I just don't think you're being intellectually honest with yourself or your readers, and that bothers me enough to get me to write this rant, but not enough to dwell on the topic.

    Got to go make jobs, help others make jobs, pay taxes and stay out of jail.

    Hope you give your crusade some more thought before you screw up the world.

  • Peter Rees

    Jeffrey,

    As Seventh Generation's success grows, surely the organisation would be a target for take-over, a function of easier to buy you than compete with you.

    Does the organisation encourage unionism?

    How does SG ensure it's not a victim of its' own success?

    [Aside] Enjoyed the posts on SG values.