At Real Life Counseling, we are starting a campaign to challenge ourselves and others to build businesses that are healthy and creative, not just profitable. In a LinkedIn article “What If The Purpose of Business Is Creativity, Not Wealth Extraction,” John Battelle questions the common understanding that businesses exist solely to deliver profits to shareholders. As we manage and work in business, we reach points where we must balance profit objectives with values that focus on the health of our organizations, the people within them and the community around us. Maximizing profits is not always opposed to creativity, but these two objectives often exist in tension with one another. If our only goal is to maximize profits, our businesses will become, as Battelle points out, “destructive to society — lowering wages, cutting corners on quality, outsourcing environmental costs to communities and the like. And destruction is the opposite of creation….”
We are proposing a different way to think about and approach business. What if our main objective with our business values, goals and decisions is to maximize health and creativity? What kind of effect would this have on our organizations themselves, the people in them and the communities and societies in which they exist? Below we outline some of the ways we seek to maximize health and creativity in our business, Real Life Counseling. First, we seek to grow personally as people – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The health of our organization is directly related to the health of the individuals in it. We also seek to create a healthy organization, meaning we must have healthy relationships within our organization. Lastly, we seek to have great relationships with other organizations and people in our community. We believe this will have a positive impact on the community and society at large. That is our goal.
Growing As People
- Wholeness. We are not just seeking to maximize our ability to earn or produce income. We must also grow mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. This means we must identify and employ practices and routines that produce health and growth in all these parts of our individual selves.
- Overcoming. As we encounter stress and difficult situations, we must be always examining ourselves, finding ways to overcome challenges and improve ourselves as people. Typically, encountering stress means we have something to address within ourselves and we must address these if we are to become better and more resilient to stress in the future.
- Addressing deficits. We are not perfect, so there are going to be things we don’t do well. We seek to address areas of deficit when they come up and improve our ability to tackle challenges in the future.
Growing As An Organization
- Cooperation. We must understand and engage in dialogue about what we are all trying to accomplish together. If we are all moving in different directions or we are not communicating about our shared vision, we will not be able to accomplish it!
- Support. We must support one another. This means encouraging one another to move forward and conquer obstacles, but also understanding and having empathy for others when they are struggling or hurting.
- Working through conflict. We are all different people and have competing desires and goals at times. This produces conflict, even if the conflict is not explosive. Silent conflict can be just as erosive to our organizations. We must find ways to address and confront conflict in a way that builds bridges and does not further damage or fracture our teams.
Growing Relationships in Our Community
- Understanding the needs. We must be in touch and understand the needs of the community around us. This means spending time with others and getting to know them.
- Optimizing our uniqueness. We must understand the unique needs we can meet. There is some way we fit into the ecosystem in our community and if we focus on functioning as well as we can in our unique role, we will be a greater benefit to our community and society.
- Complementarity. We must seek to be complementary, not competitive. There is a place for healthy competition, but if we all as organizations have a common goal of building a better community and society, we will all benefit.
We hope some of these ways of thinking help you in your goal of becoming a healthy and creative organization. We hope to challenge and inspire ourselves and others. Let us know how you seek to achieve similar goals in your business or organization. You can post comments on our facebook page here, or contact us to share your thoughts directly with us.
 Battelle, J. (2016). What If The Purpose of Business Is Creativity, Not Wealth Extraction? Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-purpose-business-creativity-wealth-extraction-john-battelle