Giving versus getting
Wednesday June 26, 2019
By Carl Dierschow
Small Fish Business Consulting
A core philosophy of business is to get as much as you can. Market share. Revenue. Profit. Recognition.
If you want to give back, great. Write a check to your favorite charity and let them do the dirty work. So you can get back to your primary objective of growing and making money.
I’m glad to see that this kind of thinking has been breaking down and becoming more human.
It started with those who questioned whether there was a deeper point to making money. Milton Friedman declared that the sole purpose was to return growth and profits to itself and shareholders. In his view, there was no further social responsibility of a company.
Others have argued that the point of making money is to provide jobs for employees so that they can comfortable, happy lives. Or to provide products and services to customers which will solve problems and meet needs.
Sure, these are good and necessary. And should rightly be rewarded with making a profit.
But what’s the point of giving? Why share the wealth with charities, employees, and the community?
In a purely functional way of thinking, the answer is: “to make customers like us so they buy more stuff. And so employees will like working here and be productive.” There’s some truth to this, of course, but it doesn’t feel like the whole story.
Using that kind of logic, work and jobs and companies become the whole point of human existence. There’s no point to sleep except that it prepares your body for more work. There’s no point for what you do on the weekends, or having a family.
I’m grateful to see that more and more companies are recognizing that they’re an important part of society in general, and that contributing to society might be their deeper purpose. This might look like supporting amazing flexibility in work hours, even unlimited time off. Or sharing core expertise with others who can’t afford to pay you, but reap great benefits.
Or developing a work culture which isn’t 24/7, giving employees their evenings and weekends to live a fulfilling life.
When I was at the Best For Colorado awards celebration last month, I noticed a much higher proportion of women owning these kinds of companies. Why would that be?
I think the answer is simple: Women tend to be better at seeing the value of balance, of relationships, of sharing. They understand that business isn’t an end to itself, that it can be a powerful force for positive change in our society. And they’re doing it.
I go into further detail on this topic in my free webinar – sign up at www.smallfish.us/webinar. It’s always live and interactive!