Not many companies have a written Constitution that sets out their principles, governance system and rules. The John Lewis Partnership does, for two reasons.
The first is historical. Our Founder signed away his personal ownership rights in a growing retail company to allow future generations of Partners to take forward his 'experiment in industrial democracy'. Not unreasonably, he wanted to leave some clear guidelines for his successors, so that the values which had motivated him would not be eroded with the passage of time.
The second reason looks forward. Spedan Lewis was committed to establishing a 'better form of business', and the challenge for Partners of today is to prove that a business which is not driven by the demands of outside shareholders and which sets high standards of behaviour can continue to thrive in the future.