What Should Be the Purpose of Business?

What’s at the Core of Your Business?

On Sunday I played Monopoly with my kids. I hadn’t played that game in years. As we sat down to play, I looked at the rules. Since it had been so long since I played Monopoly, I wanted to familiarize myself with the purpose of the game.

Purpose

Under the section entitled, How to win, here’s the purpose of Monopoly.

Move around the board buying as many properties as you can. The more you own, the more rent you’ll be able to collect from other players. If you’re the last player with money when all other players have gone bankrupt, you win!

It seems American society believes that’s what business is all about: win by crushing your competition. The very foundations of capitalism have been crumbling, in no small measure because many companies have had a win-at-all-costs strategy. While your business may not be guilty of a Monopoly mentality, society at large thinks you are. Here’s what that means for you, and what you can do about it.

A Five-Step Process to Build Morale in Your Company

How You as a Leader Can Create a Team Culture

As a leader, one of your greatest assets is the morale of your team. How you wield your influence can profoundly affect the culture of your organization. The more intentional and consistent you are in building the culture, the greater the benefits you will see from your leadership. That’s why it is so important to create a build morale in your company.

Build Morale

Most of the time morale is noticed only because it’s lacking. No one typically thinks about morale if it’s good. You will do everyone on your team a favor if they don’t notice the (lack of) morale in your company.

Here are five ways you can build morale in your company—and create a Team Culture in the process.

A New Way to Look at Difficult Employees

What Do You Do With Your Problem Employees?

How do you look at the difficult employees on your team? Could it be that you are looking at them the wrong way?

difficult employees

I’m not saying that everyone is fixable. It may ultimately be better for everyone if the difficult employees wouldn’t work at your organization anymore. I think Abraham Lincoln got it right when he said that people are usually as happy as they make up their minds to be. Nonetheless, you may be the one to help those difficult employees change their minds.

Difficult people have been through difficult stuff. And hurt people hurt people. If you just pass them off as difficult employees then you may be missing a huge opportunity—for them and for you.

Here are three questions you can use to look at difficult employees differently.

How to Make Your Work More Meaningful

Find Purpose in the Work You Do Every Day

Does your work have meaning to you?  Do you get up each day excited about what you get to do that day?  Or are you wishing you had more meaningful work to do?

meaningful

Just passing the time at what we do each day can be frustrating at best and deadening at worst.  But the good news is it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can live each day having meaningful work to do.  And here’s how.

Stop Trying to Find Happiness

Finding Meaning Is More Fulfilling

When you ask people what they want out of life, they often say that they “want to be happy.” But research has shown that happiness isn’t as fulfilling as we might think it is.

happiness

Roy Baumeister and other social psychologists published a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology investigating the difference between meaningfulness and happiness.

Based on their investigation, here are three findings that they discovered.

The Bottom Line is Not the Bottom Line

Be Careful with Your Most important Asset

A new study led by Baylor University demonstrates a correlation between a manager’s focus on bottom line results and their employees’ lack of performance. According to the research led by Dr. Matthew Quade and published in the journal Human Relations, “Supervisors who focus only on profits to the exclusion of caring about other important outcomes, such as employee well-being or environmental or ethical concerns, turn out to be detrimental to employees.”

bottom line 

The article continues by saying that these employer-employee “relationships … are marked by distrust, dissatisfaction and lack of affection for the supervisor” which produces “employees who are less likely to complete tasks at a high level and less likely to go above and beyond the call of duty.” Managers must be careful about what they wish for. Because they might get it.

When managers focus too much on the bottom line, then employees consciously or unconsciously respond negatively. Here’s how you can rescue your company’s productivity and profitability by making your bottom line not the bottom line.

“We’re not heroes.”

But It Is Possible to Become a Hero

In the Walt Disney film adaptation of C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, the Beavers explain to the Pevensie children why they have come to Narnia and what their destiny is. Incredulous at the Beavers’ insistence that they are somehow the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, Peter Pevensie (William Moseley) tells the Beavers, “I think you’ve made a mistake. We’re not heroes.” Despite his protests to the contrary, the Beavers remain convinced that the Pevensies are indeed the warriors who will save all of Narnia and one day become its rulers.

heroes

Just like Peter Pevensie, in any situation we face, we feel we know ourselves. But in fact, we may know ourselves too well. Like Peter, we think we know who we are. When opportunities for greatness appear, we feel we are not qualified. When the hero’s entrance is announced, we look for someone else. We don’t suppose that it could actually be ourselves.

But Peter’s confession is the seed of true greatness. When we admit that we’re not heroes, we aren’t trying to fool ourselves into believing that we are better than we are. At the same time, we cannot disqualify ourselves from the assignment God has prepared for us. We should admit that we’re not heroes, but we should also believe that God could use us to be more than we believed possible. In other words, it’s fine to say, “We’re not heroes,” but we should also be willing to become heroes.

Becoming a hero is easier than being a hero. But it requires intentional thinking to know where you’re headed. Ask yourself these questions to focus your mind on the direction you want to go.

Innovation Requires a Safe Place to Fail

Your Team Won’t Risk Failure if They Feel They Must Succeed

Innovation is a big buzzword today. People are saying how important it is to innovate. But innovation doesn’t just happen. It has to be properly cultivated. Because innovation requires a safe place to fail.

Innovation Requires a Safe Place to Fail

Today employers demand innovation of their employees. But they aren’t providing what’s necessary to innovate. C.S. Lewis said in The Abolition of Man, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity, we remove the organ and demand the function.” People feel forced to innovate but they aren’t given what they need to be innovative. Your team won’t risk failure if they feel they must succeed.

If you want to create a truly innovative workplace, then you must make sure that you have built your culture on three successive layers. Only with these three layers in place can you produce a safe place capable of producing innovation.

The Means Are The Ends

It Matters How You Do What You Do in Competition

Competition brings out the best and worst in us. How we compete is just as important as the outcome—in fact, likely more so. The ends do not justify the means. Nicholas Pearce in his book The Purpose Path says “The means are just as important as the ends, and some might go even so far as to say that the means are themselves the ends.” I could not agree more.

Means

Pearce points out people who have done strange things in competition, revealing cracks in their character. In the 1980 Boston Marathon, Rosie Ruiz disappeared during the course, only to reappear later near the finish line. Lance Armstrong had all of his Tour de France championships revoked after it came out that he had taken steroids. And Pete Rose will likely never be included in the Baseball Hall of Fame because he had gambled on the outcome of games he coached.

But these scenarios remind us that competition is not about winning, as much as we make it about winning. But in God’s economy, that’s not the purpose of competition. As Nicholas Pearce said, the means are just as important as the ends. There is something larger at stake in the process of competing. In God’s eyes, here are three purposes of competition.

Are You a Spider or an Ant?

Which Insect Do You Resemble More?

Are you a spider or an ant? Which insect do you resemble more? And which one do you aspire to be?

spider

I’m not talking about whether you live in a web or an anthill. But we can learn a lot by observing these small creatures—especially about ourselves.

Here are three ways to evaluate how you operate in a professional setting based on observations of the spider and the ant.