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BK Perspectives on the Election Outcome

November 23, 2016

Dear Berrett-Koehler Community Members,

Like you, I have received scores of messages commenting on the U.S. election outcome and what lies ahead for the U.S. and the world. I have wondered what I should say to add to this passionate conversation, and I have decided that it is important to share where Berrett-Koehler stands in relation to these current events.

I will start by observing that all of the issues that have come to the fore at this time—such as inequality, injustice, economic struggle, bigotry, exclusion, violence, misinformation, deception, and class systems—are not new. They have long been deeply entrenched in our society, but their visibility and the urgency of dealing with them have increased. This is a time when the BK communities of authors, readers, and publishing partners have a great deal to contribute in making positive differences in our communities and the world.

Given Berrett-Koehler’s longstanding mission—Connecting People and Ideas to Create a World That Works for All—it should be clear where Berrett-Koehler as a publishing company stands in this challenging time. We are committed to creating a world that works for all, not a world that works for just some communities or countries or genders or ethnic groups or socioeconomic classes or religious groups. BK’s values are Stewardship, Inclusion, Partnership, Sustainability, and Quality. Check out the Berrett-Koehler Constitution to see detailed descriptions of these values, such as Partnership:

Partnership. We accomplish our objectives and relate to others—including adversaries, subordinates, and the disadvantaged—through collaboration, invitation, dialogue, respect, openness, integrity, mutualism, and other dimensions of a partnership relationship rather than through compulsion, force, coercion, violence, or other manifestations of a hierarchical relationship. We are transparent toward all in our intent, decision making, structures, and policies. We seek to abolish class systems (wherein one group has enduring structural advantages over another group) in all areas of our organizations and communities, including ownership, wealth, belonging, power, accountability, compensation, and access to information and resources.

Berrett-Koehler’s publishing list is extraordinarily timely in addressing these issues. I could point to scores of titles that are relevant, but because of space constraints I’ll point to just a few published in the past few months—Overcoming Bias, The Gift of Anger, The Outward Mindset, The Art of Community, and The Reunited States of America—and to some of our prescient titles coming out over the next several months: Collaborating with the Enemy, Breaking Through Gridlock, The Revolution Where You Live, Conflict without Casualties, and Who Do We Choose to Be? And many of our classic bestsellers, such as Trauma Stewardship, are in even greater demand today to help people deal with our difficult challenges.

I believe that the BK mission, values, and publishing program are more relevant and needed than ever. I am often asked how Berrett-Koehler manages to so consistently publish timely books, and I respond that we make no attempt to predict trends or to chase trends identified by others. Instead, we focus on working with authors to publish content (in print, digital, audio, and video formats) and provide services that meet real needs that already exist in our communities—and this guarantees that our publications will be timely and needed.

But Berrett-Koehler has a great deal of work to do to get our own house in order so that we can better pursue our mission, live our values, and serve our communities and help address their needs. We have many initiatives underway to become more diverse and inclusive in multiple dimensions (author base, readership, staff, publishing partners, messages, and more); to extend the kinds of publications and services we are providing; to expand our ways of reaching audiences and sharing content and services around the world; to advance our own organization development and efficiency; to better partner among Berrett-Koehler Publishers, the BK Authors cooperative, and the Berrett-Koehler Foundation; and to increase the positive impact our company and communities are making and how we are measuring and improving social and environmental impact.

We ask for your help in advancing this work and developing ways for Berrett-Koehler to make a greater positive impact in the world.

Best regards,

Steve Piersanti
Berrett-Koehler Publishers