Great purpose hunting
Gil Friend challenges the traditional purpose of being in business, i.e to make a profit & provide extraordinary value to shareholders. Businesses need profit to fuel growth and to pay for capital. But is the purpose of business to pay for the bills?
Gil asks: “How would you define the firm’s long term commitments to stakeholders? What are the passions and concerns in your heart that move you to do what you do? The profits are a by-product of a great business purpose.
Strategies for purpose hunting:
- (Re)Purpose around customers: Customers do not buy technologies but solutions to their problems. T.Levitt stated: “"People donʼt want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” A.Lovins echoes:“ People don’t want heating fuel, people want cold beer and hot showers”.
- Creative destruction: How did Steve Jobs advise Nike’s CEO when asked opinion about Nike’s products:"Get rid of all crappy products".
- Ask the right questions: J.Hartzfeld’s recipe for the redefinition of Interface’s existence within carpet business: ”Who are we, where are we going & what are we becoming?” A. Winston highlights the power of heretical questions: Can we operate without water/oil? Can we destroy the old to build new? Ask what if - questions - rather than listing the reasons of not doing.
- Change the Game: Whogivesacrap.org wants to eliminate little-kid-killing sanitary problems of Africa with help of toilet papers. Whogiveascrap operates via 50-50%-profit share model with a non-profit-organization (which builds toilets into Africa). Western consumers can soon change the world daily by wiping their bottoms. Founder Simon Griffiths assured that “the change starts from bottoms up”.
Image: Who Gives A Crap