All companies are built to make money. What makes them different is what they do with that money. Read on to learn more about the good company principle.
Simon Anholt hosted a TED Talk named “Which country does the most good for the world” and it is one of those mind-blowing awe-inspiring talks which I recommend watching before reading on this text.
Anholt proposes an idea that countries should not be ranked by wealth, growth or even happiness, but by what they contribute back to our world as a whole. He defines a concept of a ‘good country’, not as an opposite of bad, but as an opposite of selfish; a good country would care about all of human kind. Anholt created a fantastic resource, goodcountry.org, which compiles a wide range of factors and ranks countries in the world by how much are they contributing to humanity as a whole. Ireland leads, and my country of birth Croatia is at #46, country where I live now Serbia is ranked #62.
This idea resonated very well with me, and I immediately thought that the same principle can and should be expanded to companies. Companies can indeed do a lot to give back to society and at the larger scale the whole world.
Would you rather work for a company that is rich or for a company that is ‘good’, and is driven by more than just financial success motive, that ultimately decides to spend its resources to selflessly help others – their society, people and environment? I deeply believe that we as humans would at the end always choose the latter. If not for our own sake, than because we want to leave a better world for our children.
Goethe, the great nineteenth-century thinker, reportedly said “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him”. I think you can easily judge a character of a company by how it treats those that do nothing for its bottom line.
If you have a company or work for one, I propose that you bring this up in one of the next meetings. Try to envision how the future could unfold if your company started caring about your local community. By allocating just 10% of your profit – not of revenue, but profit, meaning you have surplus – you will start doing something great, that will bring you long-term gratification and inner peace. And do this right away, at this point of time – you do not need to have a billion dollar company to start giving a share of your profit. Even if your profit is just $100 you can still extend that $10 for starting positive change around you.
Do not just give this money away without a plan, try to do this in the same manner you’d carefully plan spending money for your business. Help your country, in any way you think will help it the most.
Photo with permission by Vladimir Jablanov.