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
Imperatives and purpose:
Jean-Marie Descarpentries explained the three imperatives of business…
“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
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:
- To do good for yourself.
- 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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If the money/profit is OK, 99% of organisations DON’T care about the people.
If the money/profit isn’t OK, 99% of organisations CAN’T care about the people.
In 90+% of workplaces, 90+% of the people turn up for the money. Anything else is a bonus.
As always, thanks for joining in, Mitch. Money matters. Sadly, some will sacrifice everything for it.
Showing up to make money for the organization or to earn money for yourself means you are already focused on the wrong things if you want to be a decent leader.
Thanks Jennifer. There is evidence that people will work for less if they love where they work. I think that hints at the idea that money isn’t everything.
I believe some studies have even shown that the “bounce” from a raise goes away after only a few paychecks. Which also shows that folks aren’t as motiviated by money as we often assume.
Thanks Jennifer. My reading indicates that after a certain point money doesn’t really make us happier. So strange because I think it would
Dan, I have to agree with the people-customers-profit imperatives. Sometimes I think that the purpose of the company I work for is to offer products that delight customers, but ultimately that is a customer focus. And if the people focus is to develop and use the talents and contributions of each member of the team in the best way, to integrate all of them into a vibrant, excited, cohesive, and individually healthy unit, the other imperatives are going to be achieved.
Thanks Peter. If we courageously take care of people and call them to bring their best contribution we can’t go wrong. Of course, some don’t belong. They should be managed out.
Hubert Joly is simply reiterating what Conscious Capitalists have been saying for years! John Mackey and Raj Sisodia are the real thought leaders in this area. I worked with Hubert several years ago. it’s good to see we can continue to change and grow at any age! My wish is that high-IQ leaders like Hubert put as much energy into developing their EQ as they do the tangibles that motivate them so. And that does not require being first in your graduating class.
Thanks KIm. Yes, Hubert mentioned Sisodia in our conversation. I got the impression from Hubert that he’s been on a journey. It seems like he wasn’t always at the place he is today.
Nice interview, really some insightful viewpoints.
Thank you for sharing…. I see “we the people helping we the people”, is what God intended! The rest of the world has it wrong, the “me first and only me” needs to go away.
Thanks Tim. “Me first” works for short-term advantage. But, contributing to others has more meaning.
I begin each shift, morning and afternoon, with a hierarchy of how I approach needs:
1. Patients (dogs and cats)
3. Support Staff
When I do my best supporting those constituencies in that order, I feel right about the world, and the financials take care of themselves.
“The Prophet” by Gilbran is one of my favorite works. Thanks for sharing Dan!
Thanks Scott. It’s interesting that Hubert’s order is opposite yours. You remind me of a conversation I had with a cofounder of Best Place to Work. She said that it doesn’t matter whether you have a customer first culture or an employee first culture, as long as employees feel supported.
Dan, I do prescribe to the people-customers-profit approach. And a few of the comments align to this. However this does rely on the “Why” of the business being clear. Without a clear why, or vision, mission and strategy, your focus on people-customers-profit is a directionless meandering gamble.
Sort out why the business exists, what it’s vision and mission is, it’s strategy for success, then focus on the people, which drives customer focus, and eventually profits.