I’m lucky to have always been someone who has done well in the world of business. More and more, however, I’ve realized that I’m really a do-gooder at heart. I appreciate earning a good salary but the world needs people like me to be part of the solution. Isn’t there a way to find success in what brings you joy? Isn’t there a way to give back while cashing in? Isn’t it possible to feed your family and also feed your soul?
Spotlight is a part of an emerging trend in business recognizing that you can make money AND do good in this world at the same time. It’s not a new concept – Henry Ford said “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business” – and it seems to be gaining momentum.
I recently attended a conference in Dallas for practitioners of the Great Game of Business (GGOB), and was inspired to hear business leaders talking about helping to rebuild the middle class and “maybe even save this country.” These companies are realizing that the combination of making a profit AND making a difference may be the sustainable business model we need.
GGOB is an open book management methodology suggesting that elements like financial transparency, organizational education and shared bonuses can be incorporated to help create employee empowerment and an ownership mentality. Basically a shared bottom line means everyone is working towards the same goals, and what is good for the company is also good for each member of the team.
There was also a session on B-Corp Certification, another business model trying to save the world through sustainability and accountability. These companies are committing to a cause in addition to their financial goals, almost like a hybrid of for-profit and non-profit business models. Or as they more succinctly put it on their website: “B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee.”
Another speaker at the conference talked about how to keep great employees, and emphasized that Millennials especially have a need to feel that they are part of something meaningful and bigger than themselves. Sure they want a paycheck, but more than that they want an emotional connection to something that matters. And this rings true with customers as well as employees – when a business gives back, its employees are more engaged and its customers (especially Millennials) are more loyal.
Forward-thinking companies are realizing the power that businesses have to help solve society’s problems, and that it will actually improve the sustainability and long-term financial health of the company to give back. So they are working to make sure their businesses are not just profit-driven, but purpose-driven as well.
This is a big part of why we created Spotlight and why many people have started to look to their personal passions and philanthropic inspirations to help fuel new and retool existing businesses in the race to make a profit while making a difference.