Saturday, March 26, 2016

On the True Purpose of Business

There are so many reasons that people go into business for themselves. Once successful, they can be driven by the principle of profit maximization or the Law of Consecration. 

Just because the world doesn’t factor in the power of God into business, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.” 
--Elder Gay

If we follow the Law of Consecration we can use of our means to succor the needy and poor in spirit and truly make a difference in the world. “Business is about service and about rescue.” (Gay)

Instead of grumbling about how a pharmaceutical company makes filthy money by charging unreasonable prices, why don’t we create our own companies and sell good quality medicine at profit-free prices or at prices with low profits? I think social-consciousness-driven entrepreneurs can be an effective force in the marketplace.”
 – Muhammad Yunus

Virtue and integrity in business are critical as shown through what the lack of it can do to companies, people, and nations. Think Enron, think the banking crisis, and think auto company bail out. Charles Handy in his HBR article What’s a Business For?, tells us that “Proforma earnings announcements by the top 100 NASDAQ companies in the first nine months of 2001 overstated actual audited profits by $100 billion,” and that “CEO’s in America earn more than 400 times the wages of their lowest-paid workers.” (Handy)

This lack of virtue and integrity is driving companies to profit on the backs of their workers and defrauding employees, clients, and the nation out of their life-saving and trust.

Handy goes on to tell us “the real purpose of a business . . . is not to make a profit, full stop. It is to make a profit so that the business can do something more or better. That “something” becomes the real justification for the business.”

Companies like Google and Microsoft have created foundations to help fight poverty and disease. This is the “something” that business is all about.

If CEO’s were to be rewarded with a share of the profit instead of stock options, they may be more interested in the truth of their numbers. Another solution to the problem is if companies would “measure success in terms of outcomes for others as well as for ourselves” (Handy).

It is my hope that I can choose the path of the law of consecration. Use my work in business to benefit others.

Entrepreneurship and ConsecrationElder Gay
Microlending: Toward a Poverty-Free World, Muhammad Yunus
What’s a Business For?, Charles Handy, Harvard Business Review

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Of Sowing and Reaping

 Randy Komisar, in talking about life/career balance said this:

“Never put yourself in a situation where you can’t say no.”

One of the key factors to being able to say no is to be financially self-reliant (Komisar). If you aren’t drowning in debt it will be easier to say no to job offers that may compromise your ethical guardrails.

In his talk Attitude on Money, Stephen W. Gibson reminds us that money is not evil, that it is neither good nor bad, and that it reveals the kind of person we are. It may be the way in which we use our money that may be evil. (Gibson)

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10

President Thomas S. Monson, in his address Formula for Success states that “we have the responsibility to be prepared, to be productive, to be faithful, and to be fruitful as well.” His suggested formula for success is three fold:

First – Fill your mind with truth
Second – Fill your life with service
Third – Fill your heart with love

His statement on how to treat the precious commodity of our testimonies is a great analogy for life, business, money etc. “Remember, a testimony is perishable. That which you selfishly keep, you lose; that which you willingly share, you keep” (Monson).

Fear not to do good . . . for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. D&C 6:33

This brings me to the question of “What is your attitude toward money?”

I believe in a form of karma in the sense of President Monson’s testimony statement and the scripture above. I believe if we are selfish with our money we close down opportunities to grow and gain. If we give of the abundance we have, it will come back to us.  I am trying to more fully live this way.

How can your view of money affect the way you live? If you are selfish with the abundance you have, you limit your ability to help others and the potential blessings that God has in store for you. You also limit your potential salvation. We are commanded to help the widow, the hungry, and downtrodden.

And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things (pray for temporal and spiritual blessings), if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith. Alma 34:28

What rules are recommended for prospering? In addition to the three listed above by President Monson, we are given these in Attitude on Money:

  1. Seek the Lord and have hope in him.
  2. Keep the commandments, [this] includes the temporal ones, tithing and fast offerings.
  3. Think about money and plan how you can become self-reliant.
  4. Take advantage of chances for learning so you will not be ignorant of these matters. Education, as President Hinckley has taught us, is the Key to Opportunity.
  5. Learn the laws upon which the blessings of wealth are predicated.
  6. Do not send away the naked, the hungry, the thirsty or the sick or those who are held captive.
These are my goals. I hope that I can truly learn these, not just intellectually but wholeheartedly, to incorporate them into my very being.

Formula for Success, Thomas S. Monson, Ensign Mar. 1996
Attitude on Money, Stephen W. Gibson

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Of Humility and Becoming

Taylor Richards, in his presentation Think Big, made a statement I really like: “Do not over under-estimate yourself.

At first I thought he had mis-spoken. Then I thought about it. We have a tendency to under-estimate ourselves. He was telling us to not do that to a larger extent than we usually do. Really wise words.

“Do not over under-estimate yourself.”
-          Taylor Richards

In The Hero’s Journey they discussed the importance of choosing your companions wisely. We want to have the companions who will stick around when times get tough as well as in the good times. Not just “fair weather friends.”  We also need to be humble enough to seek out people who make up for our weaknesses.

“It takes humility to admit that others are better than we are at certain things, and that these other things are important. This sort of honesty is hard, but it is the stuff of real humility (quite distinct from being a wimp) and will bring us indispensable and highly beneficial companions for our journey.” – Hero’s Journey

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, in his Conference address The Challenge to Become, stated:

 “In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.

I guess these are all things I hope to continue learning. To not over under-estimate myself, make sure I remain humble to select the best of companions, and to make something of my life and become something that my Savior would be happy with.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

On Becoming Great

To become a disciple-leader is to “lead as Christ leads. It is leadership with a small “L” – the kind of leadership that builds and lifts and inspires through kindness and love and unselfish devotion to the Lord and His work.”[i]

I try to be this type of leader. It is my hope to truly learn to become this way.

A true leader is a person who takes others to a higher ground.
-          Jim Ritchie

One of the greatest abilities to have, in a world full of “average,” is the “ability to execute [and it] is more valuable than education or talent, because it is far rarer.” [ii]

If you want to become the kind of person who others call when something needs to get done, learn how to get the job done. Doing this, without requiring explicit step by step instructions, assembling a task force or consultants, or complaining that something “isn’t your job,” will help you become just such a person.

No matter what has happened in your life, “Make no mistake about it. You have a choiceYou can blame your parents, teachers, coaches or bosses. Or you can choose to start developing the attitudes, habits and instincts so your name will be called when success hangs in the balance.” [iii]

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but those most adaptive to change.
-          Charles Darwin

Carly Fiorina stated that the capability to ask a question and hear an answer is crucial. Customer satisfaction is a vital leading indicator of how a company is doing. Customers always know what is wrong with a company.[iv]

Innovation, the ability to take risks, and the ability to celebrate new ideas are also leading indicators. [v]

Keep learning – learn something every day.
-          Carly Fiorina

Since going back to school, I remember how much I love learning. It is my goal to always keep learning!

[i] Leadership with a Small L. Kim B. Clark
[ii] Message to Garcia. Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence
[iii] (ibid)
[iv] Leadership & Capability. Carly Fiorina
[v]  (ibid)