Business leaders have long talked about “the bottom line.”
In for-profit ventures, increasing shareholder wealth reigns supreme. Money is the ultimate end, and “time is money”.
You have probably also heard of the double-bottom-line principle. Not only should a company increase wealth, but a greater societal good should be the aim. Chic-fil-a is a great example. While they are committed to making great chicken sandwiches (and delicious sauces!), they also pursue numerous avenues to better their communities and serve people.
What about a triple-bottom-line? Yes – such a thing exists. Here – making money and accomplishing a greater good are important, but a third metric shapes this organization’s goals. It must employ practices that sustain the environment, or at least not make it worse. This ethic has emerged as an increasing value among consumers, especially millennials.
But a quadruple-bottom-line? Let’s not get carried away!
Indeed, scholars have identified a fourth benchmark for organizations. They must not only build wealth, accomplish societal good, and engage in sustainable practices, but also pursue transformation (often spiritual) for their “customers”. In other words, people they impact should both be better off because of the organization’s mission (e.g. receive care, helpful products, etc), and be transformed in the process!
Is this goal too idealistic?
Here at Jessup Leadership – we think not. If transformational leadership is to “produce change and build lives…” as Dr. Timms recently reminded us, then those we lead, whether in for profit or nonprofit ventures, should walk away different than when they first encountered us.
How often did Jesus emulate this kind of leadership? He was frequently overheard saying to the broken, “your sins are forgiven,” or to the lame, “get up and walk!” He built lives through offering opportunities for transformational change.
My guess is, today you have some tasks you need to accomplish. In your interactions with people, is your sole aim to get what you want from people (we call this transactional leadership), or that people would become better because of your interaction with them?
Consider how you might offer an opportunity for transformation for someone you encounter today.
Daniel Gluck serves as Associate Professor and Lead Faculty for the B.A. in Christian Leadership program at Jessup.
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