Week 12 don't give up dreaming. be a dreamer. and keep on trying to make the dream come true. dream about the world you would like to have. if we all dream about a better world, I can guarantee you that we will create a better world. ~mRead Now
By far my favorite reading assignment in my entrepreneur class was a speech given by Muhammad Yunus. He spoke about how he came up with micro-lending. He was a teacher in Bangladesh and he met poor people in the village near his college, they wanted loans but were too poor for the bank to consider offering a loan. He said:
Economics has committed a strategic mistake in conceptualizing a
human being. It has abstracted away from the very essence of a human
being. All human beings are creative beings. Each human being has great
potential buried in him or her. Economics has reduced human beings to
lesser beings than what they are, and consequently still lesser beings than
what they could be.
As he saw the need of these extremely poor people, he asked how much they needed. The amount was very small; in that first instance, he loaned $27 divided amongst 42 people. The joy he felt from providing much needed loans spurred him on to wanting to do more. In time he started the Grameen Bank, he loans money all over Bangladesh and has a 97% rate of repayment for his loans.
This story is inspiring because it shows how serving the needs of others can lead to greater success than seeking after the quickest way to get rich.
Sheryl Sandberg, a top officer at Facebook, described her career in the same light. She wanted to make a difference in the world, it just so happened that the places she chose to work also became extremely successful. First she went to Google to work, it was a tiny operation, but they had dreams of opening the vast wealth of knowledge to the world. She felt she could stand behind that goal and was pleased to see the company grow. Then she moved on to Facebook before it had evolved to what it is today, she liked Mark Zuckerberg's goal of making the sharing of information personal.
The essence of my lessons this week have been about finding your passion, but also ensuring that your passion can help the world in the process. What is business if it is not service oriented?
The most successful and enduring organizations last because of the values they hold themselves to and the integrity they maintain in order to provide their best for their consumers/customers.
In the December 2002 issue of the Harvard Review Charles Handy wrote an article entitled, What's a Business For. For my class assignment I have been asked to answer the following questions:
Why are virtue and integrity so vital to an economy? Without morals consumers can lose trust and confidence in the product or service offered. With great service and trustworthy attention to the needs of the customer, the company can expect repeat business, or a good word of mouth reference.
According to Charles Handy, what is the “real justification” for the existence of businesses?
“The purpose of a business, in other words, is not to make a profit, full stop. It is to make a profit so that the business can do something more or better. That ‘something’ becomes the real justification for the business.”
What are two solutions proposed by Handy that you agree with? Why?
1) Paraphrasing, Handy states a business needs to respect workers more through greater corporate democracy. He says that the old structure of the Owner/Financier having ownership of the employees should no longer be the case.
While I do agree the owner has a right to run their business as they see fit within the law, it is also true that people are not property, they have skills and their thoughts as intellectual property mean that they as individuals have value and their input should have weight. There are companies now that do appreciate their workers and show it by giving them shares within the company. This means that collectively they have a voice.
2) “We should, as charitable organisations do, measure success in terms of outcomes for others as well as for ourselves.”
The tired old cliche, "The customer is always right," does not hold much water with me (talk about cliches!) I do think the idea that the customer comes first is a good business practice. Like I said above - What is business if it is not service oriented? And I second Suze Orman - People first. It's just good business.
Suze Orman built her financial advising business on morally sound principles - putting people first makes difference.