Business: More than the Bottom-Line

Apr 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: Business Administration, CAMPUS NEWS, College of Business, Information Technology Management, Management, PROGRAMS

I recently attended a retirement party for a well-respected business man. Over the years I have had the benefit of talking with him about his business which I found extremely valuable. I have used these conversations to test if what I am teaching, and the content of our business curriculum, is real world information. I am pleased to say that we appear to be doing a fair job. For example, we teach about financial analysis, target markets, strategic planning and, of course, ethics. For the most part, we are imparting to our students what this businessman once wrote for one of my courses. He said,

“You must be objective enough to stand far enough away to look at a much larger and all-encompassing picture of what you are proposing to offer as a business venture. Passion for your idea must give way to practicality of acceptance in the marketplace.”

As a COB, however, we are challenged to present a lesson that this businessman has called business as a vehicle or tool. This metaphor is about the support and encouragement a business provides to its stakeholders when they are confident that the business is sustainable and financially viable. Business as a tool creates the space and opportunity, in my opinion, for hopes and dreams. For example, because an employee or stakeholder of an organization is encouraged by a business leader, or observes a leader ‘modeling the way,’ they have the confidence to dream about college education for their children or to take a family vacation where lifetime memories will be created. The financial rewards that they receive from the business may be turned into the dream of a new homes or perhaps a dream car. The employee or stakeholder may find that instead of just having a business relationship, that the relationship will blossom to a friendship or mentoring opportunity. Businesses can create the space for hopes and dreams and it is my hope that we at the COB will continue to challenge our students to think more broadly about business being more than the bottom-line.

I will close with a quote about a leaders legacy that I believe ties together the approach this respected business leader took throughout his career from two of my favorite business writers, Barry Posner and James Kouzes…

“By asking ourselves how we want to be remembered, we plant the seeds for living our lives as if we matter. By living each day as if we matter, we offer up our own unique legacy. By offering up our own unique legacy, we make the world we inhabit a better place than we found it.” Email Dr. Cherry

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