Us not Them

I am passionate about conversations.  Of all kinds. The one I am focused on in this blog is the conversation or the dialogue between Not For Profits (NFP’s) and Commercial organisations.

Here at Being More Human we like to describe ourselves as people who have a not for profit heart and a commercial brain.  Having worked in both environments throughout my career I have been fascinated by what one group say about the other.

The dialogue most commonly heard goes something like this: “We are an NFP, we are not a business, and if we become too business like we could lose sight of our mission”.  Alternatively, you often hear commercial organisations say “we could teach them a thing or two about running an efficient business!”, or words to that effect.

It interests me that with this conversation, as with many, it appears in the discussion as an “us and them” mentality.  The problem with this kind of view is that one group only ever views the other as the “learner” and they view themselves as the teacher.  Generally in this dynamic little value is gained from the other and little is learnt.

Perhaps what could be powerful is the merging of the mindsets.

What I am reading more and more about, and seeing many examples of, is organisations that are embracing all of their Purpose, People and Profit – not one at the expense of another.  These are often social enterprises that have a very clear mission or reason for being (similar to an NFP) but in addition they have a focus on making profit, and a lot of it.  With this kind of view, the more profit that is made by a business with a super clear purpose, then the better positioned that business is to support that mission.

Put simply, the more money you make, the more humans you can help. The more efficiently and effectively you run the organisation, the more money can go directly to the people on the other end receiving your services.

The implications of a genuine conversation between NFP and Commercial groups are that each group can come to the conversation with the point of view of “what can we learn as well as what can we teach”.

If we intentionally did this, some of the many lessons that could be mutually learned in the conversation include:

  • People work harder and smarter when they are focused on a mission that motivates them.
  • Meaning is one of the key drivers of work for people now and into the future.
  • Businesses that have a true purpose and a focus on their people have less challenges with their profit.
  • Money is not evil and it is not the end goal, it is simply a means to an end.
  • The better you are at managing money the more you can attract.

Merging these mindsets is something we love to work with.  At Being More Human we are regularly having discussions with groups from each sector.  We are also creating a business that focuses on its Purpose, supports & engages its people and utilises our profits in a socially supportive way.

We would love nothing more than to help your business do the same.

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PO Box 1204, Newcastle NSW 2300

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