Milton Friedman declared that the primary purpose of a business is to make money. Over the course of the last century, we’ve kidded ourselves into thinking that this is the ONLY purpose of business.

But it’s not true.

The money is just a holding place for adding value to the world. Sure, you can transfer money to someone else and it makes them happy – but it hasn’t actually made the world a better place until someone uses it to DO something.

This profit-first mentality is really destructive, and it leads us to become greedy, destructive, and unconscious.

The alternative, as shown by Kelly Weiss’s model of Heart-Driven Leadership, she calls “awareness”:

It’s actually hard to nail down what the right word is for this powerful mindset shift. Some call it “conscious” or “blended”, I tend to think of it as “balanced.”

We’re not saying that money is unnecessary or evil. Without profit, your business will run out of resources and go bankrupt.

Instead, we’re talking about going the next step beyond profit, namely: What will your profit be used for?

If you’re using your profit to grow the business, fine, but I’ll ask you how that serves the world. Perhaps you are able to give jobs to more people, give away some of your profits, build yourself a nice retirement and an easier life for your descendance. Fabulous! Now we’re talking about improving lives.

Mission-driven business leaders come from a perspective of balance, generosity, sustainability, and service. They’ll look at their profits to:

  • Make the business healthier
  • Improve the community
  • Help employees, partners and suppliers to have better lives

Sure, keep some of your profit in reserve for lean times. That makes for a healthier business. But don’t be satisfied if your only objective is to have a big pile of cash – it hasn’t improved the world yet.