Success is a Two Way Street

Quick Insight

A purpose statement can’t be self-indulgent or self-draining. It must state how you will both give and receive value.

“Well-balanced [purpose] statements will be reciprocal and define our relationship to our community. By reciprocal, we mean a two-way benefit…Self-sacrifice is often simply uncreative problem solving, which perpetuates limits rather than correcting them.” – Robert J. Wright in Beyond Time Management: Business with Purpose

Purpose must provide value to both you and others (i.e., customers, employees, stakeholders). Purpose statements cannot be self-indulgent nor self-draining. 

A statement all about you won’t be supported by your customers. If your passion doesn’t profitably meet a need, you’ll soon learn the world owes you nothing.

A statement all about giving will drain you and leave you empty. Sometimes you must make sacrifices. Sometimes you need to chase the cash to keep your company going. Over the long term, you and your company will need to receive value from the value you give.

Joey Reiman, in The Story of Purpose, describes how it should work: “Purpose-driven organizations create more good in the world, which begets greater profits, which allows them to create even more good. It’s a virtuous, never-ending cycle.”

I wish you a virtuous cycle of purpose and profit. I wish you well.

- Rob Stephens

Further Insight

CFO Perspective Resources

  • Free Download:  Aspirations and Purpose Worksheet - The Aspirations and Purpose worksheet helps you clarify your personal aspirations and business purpose to set the direction for your company.
  • Free Download: One Page Strategic Plan Worksheet - This simple PDF template allows you to quickly define in one page the key items for a strategic plan.
  • Video: How Do You Create Value? - You get what you value when you provide value to others. Business success comes from creating value for owners, customers, and employees. I’ll explain how to discover and increase what each group values. I’ll also reveal the “Three D’s” and “Three P’s” that each group wants.
  • Course: ACE - Strategic Planning for Small Businesses - Small business strategic planning should quickly lead you from defining where you are going to deciding how to get there. Getting there takes a well-built strategy and implementation plan. Get planning and management tools with the basics of how to use them.
  • Course: Creating Value - Business Success from Shared Value - You get what you value when you provide value to others. Business success comes from creating value for owners, customers, and employees. In this program, you'll identify exactly what each of these three groups value and how to increase that value - and your success.

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