Profit is not a four-letter word. The more you understand this truth, the less vulnerable you will be. And the more you learn about the noble nature of profit, the more prepared you will be to master your own destiny.
Nature promotes all forms of life with a flawless, profit-based incentive plan that inspires action by rewarding success. Plants profit from their use of sunlight to transform water, soil and atmospheric carbon into a cornucopia of fruits, fiber, refreshed air and seeds for endless propagation. Birds profit from the energy they invest in annual migrations north or south. Animals profit from the nutrients they gain from foraging and hunting. It is a mutually rewarding process in which all forms of life benefit from their continual pursuit of profits. As such, nature is both the source and the ultimate benefactor of their success.
For us, nature offers endless challenges and commensurate rewards. We profit physically, emotionally and materially by investing time, energy and resources in our many life-promoting pursuits.
From empirical evidence and simple logic, we can define three corollary – and therefore irrevocable and inescapable – natural laws of profit:
First Law of Profit: Basic survival of life requires that the sum of gains at least equal the sum of expenditures during life-sustaining actions.
Second Law of Profit: Security of life requires a sum of gains greater than the sum of expenditures required for basic survival.
Third Law of Profit: Added security and quality of life come in direct proportion to net gains beyond requirements of basic survival.
These three laws apply to all human pursuits, whether they are individual or organizational endeavors.
Freedom is our natural state. Free-market capitalism is its socioeconomic derivative. A world in which producers and consumers meet freely to exchange value for greater value will inevitably and nobly contribute to the wealth of individuals, communities and nations. In business, all parties naturally expect to profit from their transactions. Such win-win relationships form the backbone of every successful socioeconomic system.
Private-sector enterprises create wealth by employing resources to produce life-enhancing goods and services. Public-sector services and infrastructures, meanwhile, depend solely on levies on company and personal wealth – wealth created by people working within and among our multitude of business enterprises. As long as we work together and operate within win-win relationships, we can proudly use all forms of profit as measures of success and as incentives for our pursuit of best possible lives, best possible enterprises and a best possible world.
We cannot improve something that we cannot measure. When an organization chooses to move toward the destination I call BestPossible, it is essential that it measures its progress. However, as business leaders work to improve company performance, social conditioning and demonization of profit discourage some from accepting it as an appropriate measure of progress. But in business as in nature, profit is both the reward for past successes and the incentive for future action. For this reason, it is naturally appropriate for a business to strive to be as profitable as possible. When a company can improve its earnings in free exchanges of value, all parties win. And when no one loses, profit serves as a noble contributor to the betterment of the company’s customers, employees, owners, vendors, community and government.
As we work together to optimize our enterprises, consider our involvement as an endlessly rewarding journey toward Destination BestPossible. As long as we operate within win-win relationships, we need not and must not apologize for measuring our progress in bottom-line dollars. We must stay aware of and honor Nature’s Laws of Profit, for that is the only way to reap its rewards and motivate ourselves to further success.