There’s a myth running rampant through our capitalist economy. It’s the myth that the purpose of business is to make the owners rich.
This is dangerous, selfish territory. I’m not saying owners shouldn’t benefit or even become rich from their business… of course they should. But if the purpose of the business is to make the owner rich, what happens when the owner is gone or sells it?
The Real Purpose of Business
It’s very simple: the real purpose of business is to create value for others at a profit.
And when I say “value for others” there is a specific direction that value should flow: downward.
From the owner…
To the executives…
To the management…
To team leads…
And the irony is that when value flows in this direction, it benefits everyone.
Where we go wrong.
When the order of value is flipped, though, so that it flows upwards, it’s detrimental in the long-term. Because value flowing upward reduces customer loyalty, hurts employee engagement and actually creates fear in employees, leads to selfish compliance-based management, inspires awful executive decision making, and owners get temporarily and disproportionately rich.
What’s funny about this is that we all know intuitively that this is not a good system. It’s temporary and doesn’t benefit us in the long-term. Yet we still follow it. We still seek to create this upward flow of value for ourselves when we should be creating downward value.
It’s easy to understand why. People are biased to act in their short-term self interest. And in today’s economy where people are eager to buy and sell out quickly, make a quick buck, and maximize profit at all costs, it’s too easy to “ride the wave” and selfish short-term decisions.
But it has to stop.
Adopting a pattern of selfless service.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. And it could very well save our economy.
We need to adopt a pattern of selfless service. A pattern we can follow that leads to pushing value downstream and benefiting everyone, not just the lucky few at the top.
We can do this by fostering a positive attitude. An attitude that says “yes”, is optimistic, and recovers quickly from setbacks. You can nurture this attitude by reading books, slowing down, connecting with others, and having a routine to start your day.
We can also do this by nurturing confidence. Confidence that believes I CAN not I CAN’T. This comes from preparation, practice, and repetition.
We can also do this by listening. Being present… in the moment… fully engaged, and paying attention to others.
We can also do this with empathy, by stepping into the shoes of those around us and feeling their perspective.
We can also do this by giving beyond expectations in every situation. Understand people’s situations and expectations and go beyond the call of duty to help.
We can also do this by asking great questions. When we ask with the intent to understand how we can serve others, and when we ask questions that challenge them to grow, we make progress.
We can also do this by creating value for others FIRST. Always create value before you ask for something, and especially before you ask people to buy something.
We can also do this by showing gratitude. No one ever got hurt by showing other people more gratitude. The words you use are less important than the sincerity you say them with.
Take it one by one.
Some people will read this advice and go all-in, determined to dramatically change their life and business instantly.
Of course, it doesn’t work like that. You’ll get burned out and quit.
One by one is the best way to make progress. One thing at a time; the most important things one thing at a time, I should say. First you become positive. Then you build your confidence. Then you listen to one person at time. You show empathy, one person at a time. You give beyond expectation one act a time. Ask great questions, one at a time. Build value first, one situation at a time. And show gratitude to one individual at a time.
You don’t get buff by working out for 9 hours. You get buff by going to the gym every day for 30 minutes. And even then, you don’t look in the mirror and see progress every day. It takes time.
But after working out for 100 days, you’ll look at a before and after photo and be amazed at your progress.
Push value downstream.
So push value downstream. Serve others, make their life better, and your life will get better as a result.
Zac Garside is a Trainer and the Marketing Manager for Power Selling Pros, and is unsure if it’s better to write your bio in the 1st person or 3rd person.