Profit or purpose first
You’ve seen a lot about how purpose is good for profit. It can be. Sometimes it’s not. But regardless, pursuing purpose on that basis is a dangerous road to go down.
The more we talk about companies needing to lead with purpose and values because this is more profitable (which I hear A LOT) – in other words, the more we justify purpose on the basis of its impact on profitability – the deeper we make the doctrine that maximising profitability remains business’s primary and ultimate goal.
Which means that as soon as purpose is no longer profitable, you drop it like a hot potato and look for the next thing to increase profit.
Purpose is good. Full stop. It shouldn’t need any further qualification. And profit is essential for the survival of your business. You need both.
In ideal world, they are symbiotic. Your purpose improves your profitability, which in turn allows you to better serve your purpose.
But that’s NOT the reason why you should pursue purpose. You should pursue purpose simply because it is the right thing to do.