Are you in it for the money? Are you in it to get ahead? Are you in it to serve some one? …Two of these three choices are about you.
Nobel Lauriat, Milton Friedman is most commonly recognized for his commentary on the primary purpose of business — “to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.”
Peter Drucker disagreed with Friedman and said, “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer . . .”
Harvard’s Michael Porter suggests that it is to gain a “Competitive Advantage.”
Another Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen, suggests that companies fail because they hold on to long to what made them great…presumably what either Porter or Friedman espoused – they become vulnerable to what he calls “Disruptive Innovation”.
W.E. Deming’s first tenet was to “Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and stay in business, and to provide jobs.”
Together, these men seem to have covered all three of the circles. There seems to be no consensus on just one. Standing in more than one would be confusing, so, which one are you standing in?
Consider two more questions:
“How will you measure your life?”
“How can you know your life’s purpose?
In Clay Christiansen’s 2012 book, “How will you measure your life?” it is clear that his thinking has evolved from his 1997 thesis regarding “Disruptive Innovation.” Two videos totaling 30 minutes illustrate the migration in his thinking towards the Customer Circle. Yale graduate, Adam Leipzig, gives a simpler and more straightforward answer to these questions in his video, “How to Know Your Life Purpose in Five Minutes.”
Leipzig poses five more questions:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Who do you do it for?
What do they want or need?
How do they change as a result?
Only two of Leipzig’s five questions are about you…maybe we are getting some where with this – after all we really are each other’s customers. Maybe the answer is that it is not about you.