Don't Just Think Profit. Think Progress.

To a certain extent, profit has to be a primary goal for any business. You aren’t succeeding if the revenue isn’t flowing, right?  A business that wants to be sustainable and productive must make a profit.  But what if profit was more than just monetary gain? What if a business could be profitable fiscally and make an impact?

Like most, you probably find yourself getting excited during a staff meeting knowing that, if all goes well on your new initiative, you are going to help your company's bottom line.  It’s exciting knowing that you are contributing to your company’s success.  But, after awhile you start to realize that while bringing in revenue feels great, something is missing. 

You may not be at that point yet, but for me there was always this nagging feeling that I could be doing more.  When I say more I don’t necessarily mean climbing the corporate ladder, though that can definitely be a good thing.  I mean doing more to make a global impact.  You don’t have to work for a social enterprise to make a difference.  Every business plays an intricate role in this increasingly globalized world.  Shouldn’t we be concerned about more than just profit?  What about all around progress and growth?  

Here are a few ways you can help your company think beyond just profits:

  1. Identify and implement an impact initiative.  Pick just one area of your job to try to make a global impact.  This can range from ordering ethically sourced coffee all the way up to launching an initiative to hire and train more local employees in your international operations.
  2. Ask questions.  Most of the time, companies aren’t malicious in their intent to focus primarily on profit.  Sometimes you just need to politely remind them to think about all stakeholders and how your business will affect them.
  3. Focus on progress over perfection.  Changing the culture of a company will not happen overnight.  However, the more people you can help lead to this way of thinking, the more you will start to see your company’s actions evolve.

Working towards a bigger cause not only contributes to your company’s profitability, but it helps you and your business act in a unified, productive and ethical manner.  So please, don’t feel guilty for working towards profitability.  However, remember that profit can have many definitions and that contributing to social good is one definition that is often forgotten.  Think progress and you will find yourself becoming more socially aware as you work towards that profit line.

How can you as an individual employee help make your business more socially aware?  We would love to hear from you.