With a nod towards JFK…
Ask not what purpose can do for your profits, but what your profits can do to serve your purpose.
There’s a lot of talk about how purpose makes your company more profitable. With all due respect, that’s a pile of horseploppy.
Purpose can enhance your profitability. But I also know from one of my own previous experiences how a purposeful enterprise can limp along for years before running out of its own (and its founders’!) money. And I’m far from alone – many companies started with lofty goals and fell by the wayside for lack of a successful commercial model (aka profit and cash flow).
The reality is that the talk of purpose making your company more profitable is entirely the wrong way round. Because it’s actually your company’s profit that enables it to serve its purpose. A company that makes no profit is unlikely to be able to serve any purpose – not even keeping its employees paid.
So we need to stop thinking of how purpose and values can serve profitability, and start thinking about how our profitability can be of service to our purpose and, to go back to Mr Kennedy, to the benefit of humankind.
Then we need to get on and make profit so we can do what needs to be done.
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