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May 27, 1997

Competent All the Way Around

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CCF Brands, the egg shipper, is contributing to all sorts of socially promising works (doing good). They’re able to do that because they are turning a profit year after year (staying viable). And one key reason they are turning a profit is because they haven’t forgotten who they are—a food supplier trying to improve lives (remaining true). This makes them a model for the business of generosity.
Whole Foods Market is another company that is fully active in all three dimensions. They define their mission as being “a dynamic leader in the quality food business.” In their “Declaration of Interdependence,” they say, “We create wealth through profits and growth” alongside such social goods as practicing environmental stewardship and supporting local and global communities. In his book Conscious Capitalism, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey argues from his own experience for a fusion of profit growth and social value creation for all people.
Besides CCF and Whole Foods, many other organizations are succeeding in the three competencies of generosity as well. Is yours?
If you’re making money and staying missional but not doing good … you’re not in the business of generosity at all.
If you’re staying missional and doing good but not making money … you’re on the way to extinction.
If you’re doing good and making money but not staying missional … you may become irrelevant before you even know it.
Every business needs to make sure its succeeding in its core competencies. In the same way, your organization needs to periodically revisit the three dimensions where your business of generosity operates and make sure you’re doing it right. That’s what makes you soar.

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