I just read a very good article entitled Our Priorities Reveal our Values from Simon Sinek. I already mentioned Simon in my article Purpose beyond profit. Here’s a part of the article that got my attention:
I listened to a presentation given by top executives of a large firm recently. In their presentation, they listed the company’s priorities:
- Top line growth
- Enhance shareholder value
- Focus on global expansion
- Enhance customer satisfaction
- Our people
I think it’s safe to say, they don’t really value their people. Or at least they don’t put their people before growth. Ironically, the best organizations I’ve ever seen, the ones that are actually more profitable for the long-term, all put people before growth on their list of priorities.
As Lou Gerstner, the man who reinvented IBM, said, “culture is not an aspect of the game. Culture is the game.”
Note that Simon wrote that “the best organizations I’ve ever seen, the ones that are actually more profitable for the long-term, all put people before growth on their list of priorities.” and in the list of priorities he presented put people in the last two positions.
When we talk about business, we’re talking about people. A company is made of people inside the company (employees) and people outside the company (customers and suppliers). In order for a company to be successful, the people inside the company must always be focused on the people outside and inside the company. The people inside the company need to understand the needs, values and culture of the people outside and inside the company to be able to interact with them in a helpful way. That’s the mission of any company. All the rest – revenue, profit, market share, stock price, etc. – is consequence.