Dr. Jeffrey Spahn, president and founder of Leaders Leading Leaders, had written and published in February 2003 – A New Capitalist Manifesto? Imagining Business in the 21st Century. Although this was nearly a decade ago, his tenets are more applicable today than ever before.
Jeffrey spoke about the need and value of striking a balance between profits and purpose. He talked about businesses in the future perhaps recognizing that the most successful companies—and the most effective managers and employees—are the ones who recognize the interrelationship and can strike an appropriate balance between higher purpose and high financial success.
In 2003, as verified by independent research and many conversations with executives, Spahn noted that about half of corporate executives defined the purpose of business—any business—as maximizing shareholder worth. The other half believed the purpose of business is to contribute to the well being of society. This might happen by meeting customers’ needs, by developing people, by working for a specific cause, or by making the world a better place through the organization’s philosophies or actions. These positions were strongly held and emotionally laden, on both sides.
Where would executives’ opinions lie if we were having that same discussion today?