Share this story


How do I do the right thing and still earn a profit?

Establishing a purpose for your work

Tom says: I worked for a large company as a production supervisor and then plant manager for more than 12 years. I worked a lot of hours and felt unfulfilled. I wanted more for my family and thought I could contribute more to the community. I started this company 10 years ago and it hasn’t always been easy. But my wife knows my dream and has trusted me. My family has sacrificed a lot in order to keep this company going. So have my employees – they have numerous times sacrificed pay increases and put in unpaid overtime.

Finally I landed that big contract that may push us over the top. Maybe now I can make it up to my family. In order to make enough profit, however, I need to keep costs down by not buying new equipment, giving small pay increases, and doing the additional work with just a few more workers. When I presented this plan to my current employees, they were not happy. They asked how we’re going to produce quality products without adequate resources. And they’d been expecting a reward when we got that big contract – a payoff for their sacrifices.

What am I going to do? If I give my employees all they demand, I won’t be able to provide anything extra for my family. Everyone has waited a long time for an opportunity like this.

The expert says: In the midst of all the financial concerns, Tom is losing sight of one of the primary reasons he started his own company – he wanted to do things right! This is what initially attracted his employees.  

According to some experts, the best way to achieve corporate success and employee loyalty is to establish a purpose that is shared by the company and its employees. One way to accomplish this is to become a “learning organization.” According to Peter Senge, in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, a learning organization thrives. Some attributes of a learning organization are remarkably similar to the wisdom found in Paul’s letters.

People feel they’re doing something that matters, a sense of purpose.

“The Spirit’s presence is sown in some way in each person for the good of all.” (1 Cor 12:7)

Everyone is stretching, growing or enhancing his/her capacity to create.

“Set your hearts, then, on the more important gifts.” (1 Cor 12:31)

In order to achieve true success, Tom may need to remind himself, his family and his employees of the company’s original purpose. As long as everyone concentrates first on fulfilling a mission and purpose that serves the needs of others, they can trust God to take care of the rest.

– Tim Ryan