What do we put first – People or Profits?



Business owners ask me this question all the time. They are living in a box – they believe those are the only choices. The problem is the question itself is destabilizing and sends you in the wrong direction. By asking the question you are putting these two vital areas in conflict. Choose one and the other will work against you. No matter which one you choose – you will damage the other and in the long run damage your organization. The goal should always be a win/win with People and Profits working together to maximize the value of both. Yes, you will have to be creative and think outside the box. But isn’t that where real value always comes from? Proactive strategies will eliminate the question and make your organization, people and ultimately your profits much stronger. Notice our logo above.

We have People and Profits together tied together with the sign of infinity. When the two are working together and not fighting each other there is no limit what the two can do – working together. This simple philosophy should permeate your culture - you and your employees are on the same side. You are working together to build the organization – not creating friction between the two groups. This new philosophy will then affect everything you do. If an employee buys into this idea then you will be able to pay the employee more because they will be adding value. If the employee is just there for a paycheck then they are not working under the philosophy and they don’t care about the organization, the other employees or anything outside of their personal desires. Clearly these employees should not be with your organization for long.

I worked for an organization which made this change. They went from a framework centered on conflict and negotiation. The overarching framework was a zero sum game. Whichever side “won” the other had to lose. I also reject this premise. I saw it with the above company and many times over in other organizations. You have probably heard the cliché – quit fighting over who gets the biggest piece of pie and just bake more pies.

How many pies do you want to bake?