Do Values = Profit?

By Michael Tune, NLGJA executive director

I recently attended a session of the NLGJA monthly webinars, entitled “Follow Your Inner Leader” with leadership coach and journalist Robert Naylor. The session was fascinating, and reminded me of some of the core skills it takes to differentiate between managing a situation and leading a situation.

Robert included in his discussion a push for creating core values for one’s self. What ideas, for example, best reflect what is important to me? As I answered that question on my notepad, I began to notice differences in marketable core values and non-marketable core values. Robert promised we could write him one-on-one and ask questions, and so I asked him about it.

He responded, “Core values are essential to doing business in an ethical way and they really should be part of every process. However, they are commodity only in that they form the basis of how we do business, not what we do to make money.”

Robert went on to compare the dilemma to opening a coffee shop. “[John Doe] could decide to sell fair trade organic coffees in what otherwise looks like a gallery space in which local artists are allowed to exhibit. The furniture could be refurbished from salvage yards because he doesn’t want to contribute to the carbon footprint by purchasing new items. [Values] could form the basis of how he treats employees, making sure they are treated and paid fairly, and the way he greets customers. In that sense, he would not be just selling coffee, he would be selling his ideals.”

Robert recommended not abandoning our core values in order to make a profit, but rather incorporating them into “something tangible” and “make them the foundation of [your] business practices.”

The truth is, we can’t always turn our passions into profit. Making enough money to eat is important, but it’s just as important we make enough money to eat for tomorrow and the next day and the next (that retirement is calling).

What I learned from Robert is that I can still incorporate my personal passions and core values into my work, without necessarily sacrificing my future.

If you are itching to learn something new yourself, join us for the next one. The NLGJA webinar series is free for members.

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