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The Purpose of Business Is?

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Blogging – one of the key platforms in Social Media – and I have not mastered the weekly discipline. It’s a challenge for me. I just avoid it!
My last Blog was 25th February. I must at least have one per month! Actually one per week is my goal!

In my February blog I addressed the issue of the “Journey behind the Journey.”

It named some of the big questions and posited that answering these questions is a tough ask!
Business at its very essence is wonderfully challenging but over many decades the true reason for business has lost its meaning.

Stripped naked – what is the purpose of business?

At its very core, the reason for business is the provision of goods and services to customers (the community) that enable them to live “well”.

Konosuki Matsushita the founder of National Panasonic enunciated a set of principles in 1933. These were:

Service to the Public:
to provide high quality goods and services at reasonable prices, thereby contributing to the well-being and happiness of people throughout the world

Fairness and Honesty:
to be fair and honest in all business dealings and personal conduct, always making balanced judgments free of preconceptions

Teamwork for the Common Cause:
to pool abilities and strength of resolution to accomplish shared objectives, in mutual trust and full recognition of individual autonomy

Untiring Effort for Improvement:
to strive constantly for improvement of corporate and personal performances, even in the worst of adversity, so as to fulfill the firm’s mission to realize lasting peace and prosperity

Courtesy and Humility:
to always be cordial and modest and respect the rights and needs of others, thereby helping enrich the environment and maintain social order

Two more items were added in 1937:

Accord with Natural Laws:
to abide by the laws of nature and adjust thought and behaviour to ever-changing conditions, so as to bring about gradual but steady progress and successes in all endeavours

Gratitude for Blessings:
to forever be grateful for all the blessings and kindness received, so as to live with peace, joy and strength and overcome any obstacles encountered in the pursuit of true happiness.

Matsushita Leadership – Lessons from the 20th Century’s Most remarkable Entrepreneur
Copyright John P. Kotter 1997
The Free press
Pgs 111-115

Business is the primary wealth creation unit in any society. Without a vibrant functioning business sector there is little wealth – little work – and many of the things we take for granted would not exist.

Over the centuries from the “hunter gatherer” days to the Big Data and Social Media days, the entrepreneurial spirit of humanity has driven major evolutions (revolutions) in society. Gradually, work within families and communities has been outsourced and we have a whole range of Businesses and Industries which were unimaginable a 100 years ago yet alone a 1000 years ago.

So what’s this got to do with my blogging? These Blogs are my struggle to reflect on my work and my life. What am I learning and how can I articulate it in a way that is worth documenting? It is a journey I have avoided for many years – long before Social Media. I have always thought that there are many others who say it better, write it better and publish it better. I suspect I am not the only one who struggles with these issues. In a world that is so image (& marketing) driven, the concept of “flying below the radar” – is more attractive to me than “building a personal brand” and yet that is what I have done. Articulating that brand is an overdue next step. Not an easy step for me!

At a superficial level this is the journey – over 40 years I have been a law clerk, a research officer, a staff development officer, an organization development officer, a senior consultant and Director of Consulting – then self employed as a management consultant –business advisor – mentor – coach! And more recently a Board member.

During those early times I had multiple Part Time jobs – the CMF (Army Reserve), census collector, forestry labourer, sideshow alley worker.
Over the time I had a number of employers – The Public Service, A major consulting firm, and as a self employed person – over one hundred and fifty different businesses.

Ultimately a major discovery is that Business is “the most exciting game in town” and I wanted to make a difference in that arena.

It was the potential of business as a means of making a difference, which appealed to me – and the possibility of living on the leading edge of the changes occurring in society. For a business to survive beyond a generation requires a great deal of tenacity, patience, luck and a capacity to learn and adapt. This has been my work – the creation of Businesses that can learn!

It has been my privilege over the last 35 years to work on projects involving:

Major Changes – Downsizing, Commercialisation
Strategic Repositioning
The Management of High Growth
Major Turnaround’s – Restructuring

In all these projects the role has involved a ‘confrontation with the reality’ of the situation – not always comfortable – always a struggle – mostly rewarding – and always a learning opportunity

And so this Blog is all of the above!

Ben Kehoe

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