The article was published in Ronorp on August 1, 2019
In a New York Times article in 1970, Milton Friedman (Nobel prize-winning economist) famously quoted, “The social responsibility of business is to increase profits”, influencing a wave of corporations positioning profit at the center of company’s existence. This is the mindset with which I entered the corporate world with my business education, a clear end focus on increasing shareholder return, as happy employees and happy customers should eventually provide more profits.
However, when I attended a memorial of the CEO of a company who committed suicide a couple of months after losing his job, a crisis of meaninglessness engulfed me with a new question. “Where does being human fit in this endless search for profits?” Diving into the world of philosophy and humanity in search of an answer, I realized something very basic: At the core, we are human beings dealing with other human beings, and we created businesses to satisfy an unmet need or a purpose based on personal values.
Rather than focusing only on financial values (profit), how about putting human values (purpose) in the front seat. By tapping deeper into our inner values, we can find our north star for important decisions, driving ourselves and our work towards meaningful financial value.
The result of my reflections is MQ Learning, a training program which is probably best described as an invitation to individuals, teams, and leaders to tap deeper into inner values and become a future version of themselves.