“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.” – Henry Ford
A new year, a new beginning. A time for contemplation. What did you accomplish last year? Did you evolve your business, your teams, yourself? Where did you miss the mark? How can you improve this year?
Almost always, when I ask clients what they want to accomplish in the new year, the answer is: “more”. More sales, more customers, more product innovation, more profit, more capital – and the list goes on. I understand that in the game of business, score is kept by dollars and equity value, but I wonder whether “more is better” is really the right goal-post.
My experience is that the “wanting” behind “more” can never be satisfied. It just creates more wanting. It’s truly insatiable. I’m not saying more profit is wrong by any means. I believe profit growth and a new form of capitalism can bring tremendous fulfillment and balance to the entire globe. But I also believe an unconscious drive for more is destructive and can never fulfill. So where is fulfillment then?
The greatest sense of fulfillment comes when we incorporate humanistic values into business, and seek to serve – to give to the flow of life, rather than take from the flow of life. And when humanistic values are inculcated into corporate cultures, and stakeholder service business models replace stockholder biased models, profit and value creation well exceed the value realized by the stockholder biased, “more is better” models. It’s already happening. Take a look at the profit and market caps of values based companies like Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, Google, IKEA, Zappos and Amazon.
The truth is that the greatest sense of fulfillment doesn’t come from the things we get – sales, profit, customers. It comes from the things we give – interconnection, trust, compassion, generosity. It’s interesting how Bill Gates and Warren Buffett now realize that allocation is a higher order than accumulation, as they continue to allocate their total wealth. So what does winning at the game of business really mean? Yes, it involves smart business models and growth. But holistic growth incorporates people, planet, and profit. I’m absolutely convinced that this is growth that fulfills, and doesn’t beget a restless yearning for more.
Mikael Meir, CEO and founder of Mikael Meir Inc., is a leadership coach focused on empowering socially conscious entrepreneurs, executives and social change leaders with the tools and skills necessary to achieve true success. After spending 17 years learning the art and science of entrepreneurship, he spent the last three years on an inner journey through Self, metaphysics, theology and psychology. This has led him to an expanded sense of Self, and has served as the foundation of inner peace, joy, freedom and abundance. His intention is to share this learning with the business world.