Profit or Purpose, can we have Both? – the world after Milton Friedman

This is how Milton Friedman started his article in The New York Times Magazine, on September 13, 1970. “When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system,” … The businessmen believe that they are defending free en­terprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing em­ployment, eliminating discrimination, avoid­ing pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of re­formers. … Busi­nessmen who talk this way are unwitting pup­pets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.” These thoughts have been shaping corporate America and the rest of the world and have been an influential force in how management education is approached around the world. We all know, where did this kind of thinking got us. The assumption that companies can exist in a vacuum and their actions do not effect the rest of the system we live in, is just wrong. The idea that the leaders and managers should look after the profits only and someone else will take care of the social responsibilities is naïve, to say the least. The financial crisis was a moment of possible wake-up but it was quickly subdued and corporations went back to their original practices as the the business sector (and the governments) visibly failed to take any strong (legislative) actions to prevent another crisis from arising. Once, I was working with the top management team of a multinational company and we were discussing... read more

What is your motivation: Purpose or just Profit?

  MIKLOS A. FEHER, ❘ Advantage Group’s managing partner has established a subsidiary in New York and is now engaged by one of the largest American corporations as a management trainer. He believes that people with purpose in life perform better than those who only work to make a living and boost their ego.   Interviewer: You were at the helm of a successful CEE based corporate group. Why did you decide to change and move to New York? M. A. F.: I had often wondered what was the meaning and the most exciting mission of my life and at one point I realized that I wanted to make a greater impact on the business community and I wanted to do that in business centres where the most important decisions are made. In the meantime, I met with some mentors who were ready to share what they knew without any kind of jealousy. I have been working with Robert Dilts, one of the original developers of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) who is also my mentor. He used to be Apple’s personal coach but he is much more modest than most of the waiters I have met in my life. I.: How did the recognition turn into reality? M. A. F.: I have frequently observed in my self-awareness work that perceived limits are often within me and not in the outside world. My mother often cautioned me not to hold too many irons in the fire but it was obviously in vain. So I established our subsidiary in New York. Luckily, we managed to build our business very quickly without any... read more

Who cares about Purpose in a business?

The Idea in Short: 71 percent of American workers are not engaged or actively disengaged from their job, worldwide 13% of workers are engaged shows a Gallup survey published in 2013. Research proves happiness raises sales by 37 percent, productivity by 31 percent and accuracy on tasks by 19 percent. Yet businesses often ignore all of that. Science proved that behind Happiness there is a state, called Flow. Flow is demarcated by simple things like, clear goals; direct and immediate feedback; balance between ability level and challenge; a sense of personal control over the situation and an intrinsically rewarding activity. I propose to connect the dots and run your business with giving ample attention to the above success factors. I also suggest that to make something intrinsically rewarding you need a Purpose. Companies with a Purpose do extremely well and foster a culture of passion, sense of community and happiness. As a Leader You need to start finding a Purpose in your life and build/find a business that is in alignment with your own Purpose, if you want to live your life to its full potential. Consider the following: 71 percent of American workers are not engaged or actively disengaged from their job, worldwide 13 % of workers are engaged show a Gallup survey published in 2013. On the other hand we also know that research proves happiness raises sales by 37 percent, productivity by 31 percent and accuracy on tasks by 19 percent based on Shawn Achor’s research widely publicized on CNN, TED, HBR. I have recently worked with an extremely successful wholesale business. It is a medium... read more