Optimal (book excerpt) – Profit

I am not against generating profit, for without profit, we cannot be in business. However, if profit is the core identified means of existence, then we have sold ourselves out to something less than it could be.

Follow the trail: we generate profit, so that the company can continue to exist. It is important to continue to exist, so that we can continue to keep employees employed. It is also important to suppliers that we continue to purchase (and pay for!) their goods. Customers need us to generate a profit so that we can continue to be in business to provide the products that they have come to value. Shareholders need us to provide a profit so that their investment funds will generate a healthy return. A healthy return is necessary to carry them into retirement. It’s all about people and relationships!

What happens when people and relationships are ignored, profit becomes the sole motive, and a measure of greed is thrown into the batter? We have witnessed many examples of individual and corporate greed trampling on and otherwise destroying the hopes and dreams of the other stakeholder groups. When we do this as individuals, we find ourselves surrounded by broken relationships; alone with a valueless currency.

What happens when, possibly through false humility, the need for profit is ignored? Companies experience cash flow crisis, downsizing, and then ultimately are run out of business, once again negatively affecting the various stakeholder groups: people. As individuals we find ourselves overwhelmed with debt, bankruptcy and despair.

We must choose our values ranking, corporately and individually, with great care.