The Purpose of Business isn’t Making Money – Hubert Joly Former CEO of Best Buy

“The purpose of a corporation is not to make money.” Jean-Marie Descarpentries (Quoted in The Heart of Business)

I was surprised to hear the former CEO of Best Buy, Hubert Joly, quote Jean-Marie during our conversation. He said …

Making money is an imperative, but it’s not the purpose of business.

“Profit – like the temperature of a patient – is a symptom of other underlying conditions, not the condition itself. And focusing on the symptom alone can be dangerous.” Hubert Joly

Sunrise through trees.

Work is love made visible.

Imperatives and purpose:

Jean-Marie Descarpentries explained the three imperatives of business…

  1. People.
  2. Customers.
  3. Profit.

“It’s excellence on the people imperative which leads to excellence on the customer imperative which leads to excellence on the financial imperative. But … the purpose is not the money. It’s about helping people grow. It’s about doing something good in the world.” Hubert Joly

Why work:

When Hubert Joly was young he tried to get out of work. But during our conversation, he said work is part of our fulfillment. “A way to do good things to other people.” Then he quoted Kahlil Gibran.

“Work is love made visible.”

Gibran also wrote, “And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.”

You showed up at work today for at least two reasons:

  1. To do good for yourself.
  2. To do good for others.

Look beyond doing good for yourself and ask, “How might I do good for co-workers and customers today?”

Gibran’s observation that you bind yourself to one another when you work gives purpose to daily activities. Work isn’t simply about work. It’s about people.

You squander your talent on yourself and you alienate the world when you work only for self-centered reasons.

Working for purely self-centered reasons won’t work.

What happens in your attitude when work becomes ‘love made visible’?

How might leaders build cultures where work is love made visible?

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