On the latest episode of the Alan Turing Podcast in partnership with Boss Digital, James is joined by Sarah Morton, co-founder and Director of Matter of Focus, a B Corp company working with public and third sector organisations. They offer a software tool OutNav along with consultancy support to organisations that want to track their progress towards outcomes and use data and evidence to demonstrate their impact. Sarah is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and a Trustee of Women’s Aid East and Midlothian.
“We’ve been through a process to show we have a triple bottom line. The triple bottom line is people, planet and profit. The planet part of that is sustainability and the people part of that is how you treat your own people – the people you employ – but also how you treat the communities you interact with. We’re very strong on bringing your whole self to work. People have responsibilities, attitudes, approaches, good days and bad days that are all part of who they are at work. And rather than expecting people to be able to somehow switch that off, we support and encourage them to be their whole self at work.
And actually it makes good business sense too. You treat people well, they like their job, they want to get up and come to work, they do the best they can and so on. We’ve got to make work better for people. It doesn’t matter what the work is, we’ve got to do it in a way that’s respectful and allows people to get job satisfaction and feel like they’re doing something important and be valued as people, not just paid.”
“Every time you do something you need to think about what it’s going to feel like for people. Is it going to support our culture and way of doing things? And then be very careful that you don’t start developing processes that somehow undo your hard work on culture. So every decision we make we’re thinking quite hard about the people aspect of it.
The second part of that is making sure that culture is held by everyone because you can’t control it from the top. So I suppose it’s as you grow, giving people enough space to make it their own. And if they supervise other people, or if they’re involved in other work which as you grow becomes more distant from leaders, then they’re doing that in a way that still holds on to their core values.”
“Some people have company values which are just a bit of window dressing to make them look interesting. We’ve always tried to really make ours meaningful so they are on our website, of course, but we also spend time internally talking about what they actually mean when we show up for work and what they mean when we’re interacting with clients and making decisions. We really try to embody them and live them rather than just have them there as a document we once wrote and have forgotten what’s in it.”
“I’m really excited about how much the B Corp movement has grown over the last two years during the covid time. There are now over 600 certified B Corps in the Uk, so it’s grown at a massive rate over those last two years. I’m also part of an international movement called Zebras, which is about building an alternative to Unicorn companies. There’s room for lots of other kinds of ways of working, and there’s room for different investors. So I feel like those 2 things together along with the desire to try and build a different sort of business infrastructure are really exciting new developments that seem to be gaining a lot of ground.
So I feel pretty hopeful that we’re moving much more towards seeing business as a force for good in society and not just as a way for some people to make lots of money.”