A clear business cell is a unit of business activity whose mission, responsibility, and rewards are, modestly, on clear public display.
The need for the clear business cell concept stems from the misuse of “gross domestic product” in economic calculations and decisions. In these calculations more GDP and more growth in GDP are generally considered positive attributes. What isn’t measured is the toxicity of the GDP. On a toxicity scale, that runs from most beneficial to most detrimental, any ill effects of business activity should be steadily decreasing. The purpose of economic activity is the betterment of service to mankind. People should be rewarded for doing beneficial things, but they need to be responsible for not doing detrimental things. A body of clear business cells builds an incentive to move economic activity lower on the toxicity scale, and deposit less poison in the economic pond. There is a service motive from which rewards are derived. Unfortunately it is very common for services that are on the detrimental end of toxicity scale to command high wages and profits. It is equally common for services on the beneficial side of the toxicity scale to be poorly compensated. Any economic planning that does not consider toxicity and clarity of intent to detoxify is obscuring economic reality.
People do business to produce products and services for people in return for fair compensation. That is a civilized behavior. For business to remain civil it must be somewhat fair. There have been many fine business ventures. There have been others that were simply tools for robbery, and some have used products or services in ways that have resulted in the injury or torturous death of millions. Some workers best efforts yield wealth. Other workers best efforts leave their bodies poisoned or broken and their families destitute while corporate executives abscond with obscene rewards. The profit motive is incentive to cheat, and as rules become more vague and more complex that cheating gets easier. After a business activity reaches a certain size it takes on a life of its own. Many people become dependent on it, and the government becomes dependent on the taxes it extracts from it. As these opaque business activities grow they treat those necessary to their expansion like royalty. Those whom they exploit they treat as undeserving sub humans. There is an incentive not to play fair. The clear business cell changes that incentive.
Generally speaking business activity is cellular, but the cells can easily become cancerous. Self-serving people who direct their efforts toward their own ends at the expense of the activity commandeer the purpose of the business. The gross result is that it takes more people and more money to do a poorer job. In business activities that are not composed of clear business cells there is an incentive not to play fair. Clear business cells change that incentive.
A clear business cell defines a particular business relationship. Typically, in that relationship there are investors, producers, and consumers? The cell provides protection for all three groups, and the protection is apparent. One paragraph summarizes each individual team member’s mission, responsibility, and compensation. That paragraph is superimposed on the parent business’ mission, responsibility, and source of income.
A clear business cell can exist in any environment where business is done. Besides in commercial business, clear business cells are appropriate for government, education, and nonprofit institutions. Any environment where compensation is given for service rendered is more efficient and more secure, if it is populated with clear business cells.
In the case of a clear business cell, the “clear” depicts more than transparency. There are two other attributes. Clear denotes simplicity. Multiple pages of accounting and legalese don’t qualify as clear. Clear sparkles when light shines on it. A clear business cell provides service to mankind, and it is apparent.
While businesses often do many complex things, if the complexity is allowed to burden the normal business activities, the effectiveness of the business will decrease. The quality of the goods or service will be reduced, and the cost of production will increase. Workers, customers, and investors all run the risk of being cheated by each other. Clear business cells build clear business organs that build clear business bodies that build clear business families… Complex business relationships easily lose sight of their goal. Workers need to thrive. Investors need to thrive. Communities need to thrive, and the environment needs to be preserved or enhanced for this and future generations. Clear business cells focus on the goal, and they illuminate the path to get there. Answering two questions illuminates the path. They are, “Who gets what?” and “Why do they get it?”
The role accounting plays in business is meant to increase transparency, but its generic complexity often is used to cloud the fact that the delicate balance of responsibility is toward profit and away from service. Responsibility is ignored in order to cheat the system. A body of uniformly clear business cells is necessary to keep accounting transparent, accurate, and credible.
Managing a business composed of clear business cells is crisp. The manager has to balance exactly two responsibilities, the pursuit of the mission and the protection of the team.
Private Enterprise cannot flourish when forced to compete with public cheating and the bickering that ensues. Clear business cells are designed to protect and reward people for responsibly producing beneficial goods or services, and for investing money and resources in that pursuit.
Should all business cells be clear? The topic is open for debate, but people need to be able to identify clear business cells and those that are not. Commerce, government, and any other places where goods and services are compensated need to trend toward clearer cells in order to become more efficient, more responsive, and to garner trust.