Does Your Business Have a Soul?
“A business that makes only money is a poor business.”
– Henry Ford
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with staff of a particular oil company. They wanted our organization to offer them some service. In our discussions, they mentioned what they expected us to do for them. What they asked of us was contrary to what our value as an organization is all about. It was really an opportunity for us to learn and at the same time make money and name for ourselves.
That was a challenge. We had a choice to either compromise on our values and make money or be true to our values and let the opportunity pass. We decided to be true with our values, which really wasn’t hard a choice to make. That’s because we are our value and our values are who we are. Compromising our values simply means we have no soul. The soul of a business is its values.
Many organizations would have chosen to accept that simply because they have no values they live by. Any organization or business that exists for everything, exists for nothing. If your business stands for nothing, then you will go for anything that looks fanciful.
To have a soul is to know who you are, why you exist and why you are doing what you are doing and be true to that. Businesses that grow have a uniqueness that only comes from staying true to their values. They are not unique because the people who work there are unique but simply because their know why they exist and stick to it.
Sticking with your values can seem to be a poor decision to make in the short run, but in the long run it brings much value to you and your organization. To build a great business, you have to plan with years in mind.
Of course, many organizations have values that are well designed and placed in strategic places in their offices and on their websites. It’s just there for everyone to see but it has not been internalized and is not being lived by people within the organization. Internalized values is easy to practice.
No Profit Without Values
The above quote by Henry Ford continually guides us as we build our business. What profit will a business get if it gains money but loses its soul, its values? No profit at all. That’s because without being true to a set of values, the organization will not last.
A business exists to solve problems and to meet the needs of people. And in order to effectively do that, the business needs to know the people it wants to solve problems for and it needs to be guided by a set of principles on how to go about serving these people.
Your values undergird what you do. It is the reason why a business exists. Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why, writes, “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” Your values determine why you do what you do.
Most businesses concentrate on what they do more than why they do it. Great companies like Apple, Zappos, amazon.com focus on why they exist. Everything they do comes out of their soul. And that’s why they are able to authentically serve people.
When you serve people from the soul of your business, money will not be a consideration, adding value will be. When you have a soul, you will be true to your values. That’s having integrity and being authentic.
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CEO, MegaGrowth Solutions
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