As business people, as investors, and as consumers, how do we define “success”? Do we have one or multiple measures of success? In this post, we invite our trusted friend Dr. George Huang – a former surgeon turned business coach – to share his perspective on “the exponential bottom line” and the importance of expanding the ways we measure success. Over the years, George has been a client of Partners for Prosperity and has been directly involved with our business development. We are grateful to include his wisdom on our blog.
Measuring Our Measures of Success
When I operated on a patient as a surgeon, I couldn’t just deal with the various anatomical and physiologic systems as if they were magically isolated. Indeed, the health of the underlying vascular system dictated where I could make surgical incisions in the skin and where and how far I could rotate skin, fat, and muscle to reconstruct a body part or close a complex open wound. I had to consider multiple factors, including the limitations and consequences of the factors individually and collectively. Clearly, integrating and adhering to fundamental surgical principles and “best practices” increased the odds of the surgery being a success – a life is saved, a limb is salvaged, a face rejuvenated.
In the world of business and investments, we deal with multiple, complex, and changing variables as well. But in this realm, instead of saving lives and limbs, the ultimate measure of success has traditionally been to ever increase the single bottom line of profit. To our great detriment, this goal has frequently been undertaken with an attitude of “success at any and all cost.” In large part, this mindset has contributed to the global economic turmoil and ecological endangerment that we find ourselves grappling with today.
As various parts of the world have dominoed into economic and social turmoil, I’ve felt an inner calling to contribute ideas and energy to lead and encourage fellow entrepreneurs as well as consumers to be part of the solution. I used to host an interactive conference call series entitled, “Conscious Leaderpreneurship Conversations.” These calls were inspired by my desire to experiment and expand the blending and showcasing of spiritual awareness as the cornerstone of success and fulfillment in the entrepreneurial world and expanding the depth and breadth of how we can blaze trails into a new era of prosperity.
The 5 Elements of the Exponential Bottom Line
Inspired by these conversations, I’ve outlined five fundamental business principles and practices that I collectively termed the “Exponential Bottom Line.” In contrast to the single bottom line of profit, this term asks us to consider how a business, investment, product or service:
- Enhances the quality and duration of the lives of People today as well as future generations to come.
- Restores and renews the resources and ecosystems of our Planet.
- Generates Profit sustainably, fairly, and responsibly.
- Promotes Prosperity locally and globally.
- Models and perpetuates Peace through its values, mission, vision, business practices, and ultimate impact on society.
While the specific practices and principles that I outline are nothing new, the context is. In fact, the “Triple Bottom Line” of “people, planet, and profit” has been championed for years. But to me, those three elements alone are still too “stingy.” It felt as though something was missing. So I added the elements of “prosperity” and “peace.” I assert that these five elements constitute a fresh, holographic, and integrated approach to how a “prosperity era” business makes its mark on the world.
My Challenge to You
Embracing the mindset of the “Exponential Bottom Line” is one thing. Applying it in the real world is another. Under economic and a myriad of other pressures, existing mindsets, practices, and habits tend to persist and “die hard”.
Yet, consider what might be possible if we adopted the notion that rather than the singular focus of profit at any and all cost, we focused on playing a bigger game – one of challenging ourselves to define what each of the parameters of the “exponential bottom line” means to us? The next step would be to apply and fold these ideals into our daily activities in creative and innovative ways.
To play this game, it takes a commitment to reinventing our models and practices as business people, investors, and consumers. It would take a willingness to tell a different and bigger story about ourselves, what we stand for, what we’re willing to fight for.
While each of us might define the exponential bottom line and the practices that best represent it for us a bit differently, here are some possible ways to start moving ourselves away from a “profit only” model and towards the exponential bottom line:
- Choosing fair trade and environmentally sustainable foods and products;
- Supporting businesses that actively support environmental sustainability;
- Promoting businesses that reinvest financial and manpower resources back into their communities;
- Shopping at co-ops, farmers market, or catalogs which support a greater diversity of community-based businesses, not simply mega-corporations;
- Investing in businesses which promote peace, prosperity, and sustainability;
- Saving in mutually-owned insurance companies rather than the big banks which crashed our economy and/ or accepted taxpayer bailouts;
- Conducting our own businesses in such a way that employees are empowered and seen as valuable rather than expendable resources;
- Encouraging shoppers and workers to expand working definitions and models of what prosperity means.
If adopted by even a fraction of businesses and consumers worldwide, the practice of “the exponential bottom line” ideals could synergistically shift the dynamics of commerce to effect lasting change and transformation in our global economy, ecology, and sociology.
Now, isn’t that a game worth playing? In what ways will you take this on challenge? Let’s use our businesses, our investments, and our consumer choices to raise the level of prosperity for all.
Are You Investing for the Exponential Bottom Line?
Partners for Prosperity offers “win-win” investments that support the exponential bottom line. To find investments that you feel good about AND that deliver the reliable results you are looking for, contact Partners for Prosperity today.
About the Author, Dr. George Huang
Many entrepreneurs suffer from “EDD,” “entrepreneurial deficit disorder,” where they have big hearts, but too many ideas and talents to focus and make the best strategic business decisions. George Huang helps these gifted entrepreneurs accelerate their business growth and profitability through his company, Freedompreneur Coaching & Consulting (www.Freedompreneur.com) and a related company he co-founded, Business Money Insights (www.SmartBusinessMoneyHabits.com).
In his previous career as a plastic surgeon, George consulted with many patients who sought cosmetic surgery for the wrong reasons. Today, he uses the same diagnostic approach in his work with entrepreneurs from various countries and enterprises, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies: searching for root causes of business challenges and addressing them with decisive action. His initial struggles with the business side of medicine inspired him to become the business mentor he wished he had had when he needed a helping hand.