Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Profit and Purpose Can Work Side-by-Side

This week is going to be an exciting one here at Soundview. On Thursday, November 19, we’ll be hosting our latest Soundview Live event with author Jim Champy at Noon (EST). As with all of our Soundview Live events, this one is free to our subscribers. The topic of this conversation will be Champy’s recent book Inspire: Why Customers Come Back.  If your job description involves interacting with or procuring more customers, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

I get the opportunity to participate in some of the pre-event discussions with the authors. It’s always a joy for me when an author is vocal and passionate about the subject of his or her book. Champy’s enthusiasm for the companies he profiles in Inspire is readily apparent. When we asked him about some of these companies, such as beverage maker Honest Tea or grill maker The Big Green Egg, it was clear that he was impressed by the same attributes that impress the companies’ customers: originality, authenticity and a sense of purpose. It was the last point of the three that made the largest impression on me.

While a large percentage of companies today are encouraged to play up their philanthropy or involvement in a community for purposes of public relations, customers occasionally view these efforts with a degree of apprehension. There tends to be a strange split in public perception. Companies are either “for profit” and not capable of true purpose-based business or they are “non-profits” who do great work for a cause but struggle financially. One of Champy’s insights is that a company can both have a purpose and still be for-profit. I was so struck by his message that I wanted to share his exact words with you.

“Let’s not forget that there are also companies that sit right in-between,” Champy told us. “They’re for-profit, but they are also very noble. One of the most important things in presenting yourself is to maintain a real base of authenticity and have a genuinely high sense of purpose. The Honest Tea example is one where the company is profitable and it makes decisions based on profitability but still is highly respectful of its suppliers. They are highly respectful of the people in India and the Asian subcontinent that grow these teas. It’s highly respectful of everything that it puts on its label in terms of content. You can attach a very high sense of purpose to what is a very simple product or service but you better be true to that sense of purpose!”

Rather eye-opening, isn’t it? Consider this a bit of a preview of what’s to come this Thursday at Noon (EST) when Jim Champy offers insights and takes your questions on the next edition of Soundview Live.


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