According to today’s FT President Obama says: “Corporations aren’t people; people are people”. I think he’s right. The article says he was referring to a statement by Mitt Romney “in which he equated the rights of companies and individuals”. I don’t get this. Companies are, to my mind, merely coalitions of micro-businesses – particularly at the top – for short periods. An acknowledgement of this is good for business and good for individuals because anything which reflects reality rather than artifice must be for the best. If companies were to reframe their relationships with their employees on a joint-venture win-win basis I feel certain that performance would increase. What better incentive to work harder if you feel that the company you work for understands your “soft” as well as hard cash needs? One which strives to help you be what you can be? The carrot and stick argument against this is that it’s a bit “wet”. I disagree. An adult-adult approach to work forces employees to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Careers are not like businesses. They are businesses, in every respect. Professional service firms on legs. If careers are businesses then jobs are joint ventures. And we all know that the only JVs which work are those in which the relationship is carefully managed and nurtured.