Ok, so it’s not entirely bad business to think of the money. Businesses need to make money. In fact, businesses that don’t make money won’t last very long. Nor is there anything fundamentally wrong with people being paid well for working hard to build a great business; it makes good business sense to reward talented staff and trusting investors.
It’s just bad business to think ONLY of the money.
“Money is like oxygen – necessary for life,
but not the reason to live!”
What if businesses chose not to focus solely on the financial rewards, but instead chose to operate with a more inspiring mission? What if businesses pursued a mission defined by a valuable, caring and outward looking solution which runs alongside a set of laudable core values which define how they intend to behave? What if businesses chose to work for the common good?
The issue which underpins bad business is a business purpose based on greed – maximising profit at the expense of all other ethical, moral or practical considerations. A business should never be driven solely by a mission “to make as much money as possible.” That is pure greed! Greed is what turns capitalism bad. Greed is what causes the subprime mortgage market to collapse. It is what drives Bernie Madoff to steal and what caused thousands of job losses at Enron.
It is, therefore, integral that businesses are founded on excellent core values and with inspiring missions which can be proudly expressed to our customers. And when a business does this, we (the consumers) notice. We notice their authenticity; their desire to help; their passion and we want to do business with them.
And, as Jim Collins’ has shown in his books Good To Great and Built to Last, those organisations built on a strong mission and defined by moral values tend to make more money too.
An organisational purpose is your north star! It’s your guiding light. It explains why your people come to work and defines what they do all day. It defines where you want to go. Your purpose is what pilots your organisation into the future and against which everything your organisation does should be measured.
A purpose gives your team clarity, direction and focus and should be the very heartbeat of your organisation.
The starting point for any business should be to ensure that it clearly defines a purpose in these three parts:
The mission: what an organisation does. This is what happens each and every day at the coalface (Google “organises the world’s information”; Disney “makes people happy”).
The values: how an organisation behaves. This defines what is and is not appropriate to do while executing their mission. (For example Zappos aims to – “Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded; Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit; Be Passionate and Determined; Be humble”.)
The vision: where the organisation is going. The business’ vision should be “a big hairy audacious goal”14 that the organisation aims to achieve. (Amazon Kindle wants to make “Every book ever printed in every language all available in 60 seconds from anywhere on the planet”).
Your business’ purpose is: what you do, how you do it and where you’re going.
Now go define your purpose!
Contact us if you want help to articulate and define your true purpose, get of politics from your organisation and find more time for you to focus on growing your business.