I wanted to speak this week about a book I read: People Over Profit by Dale Partridge
First a little about me.
I have tried to spend most of life serving other in some form or another, granted until the age of 25 I was not much more than a normal confused kid that had little to no direction in his life. I wasn’t a great student and made all the typical mistakes. I do recall when I first entered High School I did initiate, set up and promote recycling of cans (I think before that was really a thing sometime around ’86). I had purchased a large round trash cans and cut out holes in the lids and made signs encouraging participation. I do not remember thinking I was going to change the world but it felt good to do something that was bigger than myself and something I felt was a good cause. The point here is I believe I have always loved to start and run things that had meaning.
In 1995 and at 25 I entered the Air Force where I spent 8 years serving my country. To this day I still wonder who needed who more. When I signed on the dotted line I was a misguided kid remember and I knew if I did not take charge of my life it wasn’t going to play out the way I wanted. Since then I have been married for 22 wonderful years, have 2 great teenage boys, have started a couple companies, been a volunteer soccer coach, den leader and are currently serving my second year as the High School Band Booster President. I have always respected others, not one to gossip, never hated anyone and have a genuine love for all man-kind.
So how do you translate those qualities into business? By putting People Over Profit.
Until recently I feel like I have been approaching my company all wrong. Now I am not saying that people were not important but I do feel that I had a sense of chasing things that affected the bottom line and focusing less on being a servant of others using my 18 years in my industry to be a blessing to others. As a business owner it is so easy to get wrapped up in working on the next client or the next sale and previous clients that really liked you end up getting pushed to the side after project completion.
Overview from the book: People Over Profit
Overall this was a very enlightening read and highlights mistakes that many companies make. It speaks to the 4 Eras of Organizational Behavior.
- Honest: We all start clean, new and with a modest approach to our business and how we handle our customers and employees
- Efficient: Things start to build and we start to focus how to capitalize on being more resourceful. Addicted to more.
- Deceptive: We become destroyed by greed. Misleading ads, disproportionate salaries, unsustainable workloads.
- Apologetic: The Revolutionary Act. Customer rebellion that leads to the companies realization that screwed up.
I am sure we can all remember at least a few companies that have had to publicly apologized for some act of deception. Regardless of industry it seems these behaviors are an easy trap for many businesses regardless the size.
With Understanding Comes Change
In part 2 of the book the author sheds light on a few companies that have been able to break the trend staying true to people over profit, Whole Foods, REI, Chick-fil-a, In-N-Out Burger and Patagonia. He shares his seven core beliefs that if followed will help you steer clear of the typical pitfalls many companies find themselves in.
- People Matter
- Truth Wins
- Transparency Frees
- Authenticity Attracts
- Quality Speaks
- Generosity Returns
- Courage Sustains
Chapter 5 – 11 goes into great detail about each of these core beliefs.
Break the cycle for good.
In chapters 12-14 Dale speaks about how to break the cycle for good. In these chapters he explains you have to “LIVE GOOD”, “LAUNCH GOOD”, “LEAD GOOD”. And in chapter 15 he explains how EVEN GOOD CAN GO BAD. Explaining how he was terminated from the company he had built and loved.
One area of the book we can relate with was in Chapter 9 – Quality Speaks. Dale talks about the imports of design.
“In our current age, visual elements are no longer representations of the brand but an expression of the brands heart. So design must be a core value of any organization. Whenever something has your name or fingerprints attached, it can’t be less than great. Visual design is the first touch point most people have with your company. They can dictate the rest of your relationship. So make sure you stack your creative team with all stars.
Ask a few creative friends who will speak honestly with you to evaluate your website, printed materials, and Logos. Did ask them what these visual components communicate about your organization. You may be surprised by what you find out.”
I encourage you to take a look at the book, even if you feel you already focus on people over profits, knowing some of the pitfalls can certainly help you avoid them.