Profit ain’t everything

An interesting snippet caught my eye  in the recent Harvard Business Review, in an article called “Why Profit Shouldn’t Be Your Top Goal”…

“…if a CEO’s primary focus is on profit maximization, employees develop negative feelings towards the organization. They tend to perceive the CEO as autocratic and focused on the short term, and they report being somewhat less willing to sacrifice for the company. Corporate performance is poorer as a result.

This research […]  underscores the risk of single-mindedly pursuing profit”

Makes sense.  Who’s going to go out of their way to make someone else (e.g. CEO, shareholders) rich, particularly at significant personal cost to themselves? As a motivational strategy, ‘we have to make $X profit” is limited – you might get a basic level of compliance but you won’t get much engagement and initiative.

For all the talk about self-interest, the evidence suggests that humans are actually social creatures who are intrinsically motivated by working together in pursuit of a bold vision.

What picture of the future are you painting?

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Planting trees

Starting a business is like planting a tree.

This thought struck me while doing a spot of gardening this morning. A bit philosophical perhaps, but probably appropriate for the start of a brand new year. After all, they say that:

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now!”

The same is arguably true of a business. So, without any further ado, here are a few thoughts on the similarities between planting a tree and starting a business:

  • Location is all important. A good tree in the wrong spot won’t thrive. Neither will a business.
  • Think carefully about what to plant. Sure, you can prune or shape, but the fundamental nature is set at the very start.
  • Preparation matters. Do the groundwork, place it in carefully, and nurture while young. A strong start helps.
  • It can take years to bear substantial fruit. It may even be wise to sacrifice any early fruit to reinvest for growth.
  • External factors can have a big influence on success. Pick a good climate, but be prepared for unforeseen events (frosts, heat waves, etc).

Any budding gardeners/business people out there?  Feel free to add more to the list.