Having been corporately trained the majority of the decades I have been in finance, and although I received and experienced great value from the training and development, I always felt a bit out of place knowing there had to be more to what we were doing than merely driving for and being measured solely by profits, production, and performance. What was the “why”?
As many know, in that type culture, everything orbits around goals and growth – which of course are necessary – but an unfortunate result is the loss of greater mission. Sadly, this vacuum of a greater purpose beyond profits can often lead to burnout, sellout, and feeding frenzies for more power – even if they didn’t begin this way. Somewhere along the way, many businesses lose their soul, because the soul of any business is the heart of its people, who in turn create its culture – and a culture is shaped by a shared purpose that begins at the top.
A sad result is many places can become like shark tanks, simply consuming all it can, while it can. Glim I know, but it doesn’t have to go this way, and again, that’s where leadership makes all the difference. Although, no place is perfect, because people aren’t perfect, we can always be pursing to be “better”, and not lose sight of the social consciousness impact businesses can make, no matter how big they may become.
A resonating “why” I have heard expressed numerous times to help keep this at the forefront is, “what are the tools, skills, knowledge, and resources we possess individually, and collectively, that can make a difference in our communities and in other people’s lives? How can we become better to help them become better”?
Two business philosophies, though they differ in other ways, come from Chick-fil-a and Patagonia. Both are highly profitable that didn’t accept the standard model of business – rather, as social conscious businesses they believed “doing the right thing makes for good, sustainable, and profitable business”. Their desire, is to enrich lives and to profit without the loss of soul – something in business we can all value.