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February 5, 2007

If the Cause is King

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Philosophy

One of our core convictions at Personality™ is that the cause must always be king. This has been an important guide for us because it guards against putting for-profits and non-profits ahead of the cause. This is not to say that companies and organizations can't win--indeed they must be winners too!--rather that the cause we are fighting for must stay front and center. The cause is what will ultimately bring success (sustainability, goodwill, profit, donations, etc.) to the for-profits and non-profits.

However, this begs a natural question if you let the progression of this philosophy--that the cause must be king--play itself out to the fullest extent. If the cause is king, what happens when it has no kingdom? For example, if one of the causes we're fighting for is a safe classroom environment for all children in K-12 grade in the U.S., what happens when that is no longer an issue? What happens when all classrooms for K-12 grades are safe (absent of infrequent exceptions)?

You can zoom out and ask this for any cause. From affordable housing and childhood obesity, to cancer and aids, if and when the cause ever becomes history (and that is our goal, is it not?), what happens next?

If you're championing a cause, one would assume you're hoping to see that relegated to history. If not, I think you have a conflict of interest on your hands. However, if you're a forward-thinking organization, this means you're looking ahead and positioning yourself to be ready to move on. Who wants to be the only one left in a kingdom with a dead king?

I realize I'm an idealist here, and there are some causes that will probably go on forever, but I'd like to think we're just crazy enough to see many causes conquered.

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Is ‘the cause’ the bad state of affairs we are working to overcome or is ‘the cause’ the good state of affairs we are seeking to restore and maintain?

Is the cause AIDS erradication? Or is the cause sexual health and safety? Is the cause hunger or is the cause proper nutrition? Is the cause eliminating polio or preventing disease? Will we ever stop needing sexual health and safety? Nutrition? Vaccines?

When the cause is a good state of affairs we are seeking to restore or to maintain, then the need for the cause remains. What changes is the number of assets and resources committed to eradication vs. maintenance or prevention.

Posted by: Brett at February 8, 2007 2:18 PM