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Combining Profit and Purpose

The next generation of workers wish to ensure that workplaces feature purpose as well as profit. Here’s how to get there!


In 1998 Sam Mogannam revitalized a small family-run Bi-Rite market in the now-trendy Mission neighborhood in San Francisco. Although the area was rife with drug dealing and other crimes, Sam took a risk and removed the bars from the windows. He revamped the product offerings, and renovated the little grocery store into a welcoming hub for the local community.

He grew this community by cultivating life-giving relationships with local producers, and provided education opportunities for his employees and customers, taking them on field trips to local farms to gain knowledge, develop relationships, and build ownership. Today Sam’s Bi-Rite market is a resounding success. A profitable business with an energizing purpose.

Profits + Purpose = Thriving

For decades, many of us have viewed corporations and non-profits as fundamentally distinct types of organizations. We looked at corporations as existing primarily to make profits, and saw non-profits as existing primarily to fulfill a people-directed purpose.

However this distinction is shrinking, driven by the redefined expectations of the next generation of the workforce. Young professionals are transforming the definition of success to include “living a good life” and “doing something greater than oneself.”

With the landscape of business traveling at warp speed and new technology reshaping how we connect, create and share, we have a great opportunity to transform the way we experience work — re-creating the workplace to include both profit and purpose.

How to Get There

Here is an outline for moving your organization toward a culture of thriving and resilience with tools to help you get started:

  • Develop Self-Awareness – Use tools such as journey mapping, change readiness assessment, impact analysis, and culture analysis.
  • Align the People/Organization – Have a clearly articulated vision enabling all employees to connect their job to a purpose at work
  • Prioritize and Implement Culture Change – The M5 Model is illustrated in the fun poster below and provides an easy roadmap to understand and plan for organizational well-being. Its elements include:
    1. Mindfulness – Apply methods of intentional focus to improve productivity and decision making abilities. This requires slowing down, observing patterns, and stepping in with intent. Mindfulness is more than meditation.
    2. Mentoring – Focus on high-quality connections generating life-giving relationships that incorporate respect, encouragement, professional growth opportunities, trust, and fun.
    3. Movement – Clearly identify career moves/paths and nurture well-being with energizing twist and stretch breaks; encourage moving meetings.
    4. Motivation – Positive enterprises design their policies to enrich jobs, listen to employees regularly, recognize achievement consistently, and become adept at the use of stretch goals to fuel inspiration.
    5. Meaning – Foster an organizational culture of people who feel valued and whose jobs have meaning; practice job crafting and approach jobs as “callings.” Re-frame products or services and identify their positive purpose in customers’ lives.



We’d love your thoughts – leave your comments below!



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