Project Management

How to B a better Project Manager

From the People, Planet, Profits & Projects Blog
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Richard Maltzman
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That's not a typo.

That says "how to B".

We often write about the importance of the connection between the enterprise’s mission/vision/values and project rationale.  We often find that project managers – due to their justifiable need to meet specific, generally short-term, deadlines – are not as connected as they should be to the longer term. 

Interestingly, the “enterprise” is a main “customer” of the project team.  And, increasingly, our “customer” is buying into the idea that there exists not a single bottom line, but a triple bottom line, which includes (of course!) economic considerations but also includes social and ecological considerations.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at something called a “B Corp”.

You can learn a lot about the concept of a B Corp is to read the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence



We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.

This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation - the B Corporation -

Which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:

That we must be the change we seek in the world.

That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.

That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.

To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

So there is motivation for the enterprise to move this way – towards a more holistic view of what “success” means.


And it’s catching on.  Here are some up-to-date statistics…

Is your company on the list?  You can look it up here.

So…why?  Why is this catching on?  Rather than try to explain this myself, I’ll refer you to this article from Harvard Business Review.

 It begins:

The landscape of American corporations is changing. Since the financialization of the economy in the late 1970s, corporate governance practices have tightly linked the purpose of business with maximizing shareholder value. However, as the 21st century pushes on, there has been an increased emphasis on other stakeholder values, particularly social and environmental concerns. This trend in corporate governance – which has led to the growth in “triple-bottom line” thinking – has fueled the emergence of a new organizational form: the Certified B Corporation.

But why?  Why not just go after the dollars, the yuan, the pounds, the Euros?  Here’s what the article has to say about that:

Increasingly, corporations are donning the persona of a responsible citizen, while continuously performing practices to maximize profit. These contradictory tendencies motivate traditionally “green” and ethical businesses to unite and stake a claim to their authentic difference, fueling the growth of B corporations and other new types of organizations. For mission-driven businesses, these alternative forms of organizing provide an opportunity to better communicate their commitment to society and to the natural environment in a world where everybody claims to be “green” and “good.”

If you disagree with this reasoning, or even if you disagree with the movement of companies to this more holistic view, as a project manager, you do have to understand, appreciate, and align with your sponsor’s thinking.

And this is how they’re thinking.

So maybe it's the way you should B thinking as well.

Have a look at this very brief video – which makes a great analogy to the birth of human flight – to get a great background on what it takes to become a B Corporation.


This one is a little ‘glitzier’ but it’s also very informative.

Posted by Richard Maltzman on: January 09, 2020 09:22 PM | Permalink

Comments (9)

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Dear Richard
Interesting your reflection
Thanks for sharing

The proposal (Certify Companies as B Corporation) is original

There's nothing like asking governments for support (legislation, and later requirements for bidding) for B Corporation certification.

I did create my own corporation two years ago. I'm very tempted to become a certified B company.

Good Information included in the topic, thanks for sharing.

Good Information included in the topic, thanks for sharing.

Thanks, Richard,

I see it is really gaining ground, was exposed to it a few years ago when it was just emerging.
Very happy it is a growing interest.

Great perspective. Hopefully this takes off (pun intended).

Interesting... I hope this flies.

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It's like deja vu all over again.

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