Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, in his book, Good Business, says, “Business exists to enhance human well-being.”
What do you think of that? Do you agree? Or is business just here to sell stuff?
Well-being, according to the dictionary, means being in a state of comfort, health, and happiness.
Is that what business is for? Does business have an obligation to help people be comfortable, healthy, and happy?
While provocative and worthy of a blog post on their own, these questions actually suggest a few more.
Why do we need businesses? Why are we customers in the first place?
When I’m a customer, it’s because I need help in one way or another. The last time I went out as a customer, I went to get a book. I wanted to get a copy of a book everyone was talking about and I wanted to see what all the fuss was.
So, how did I need help? Well, I can’t create the book out of thin air. I need a place that has the book and can get it in my hands.
In another case, I needed help with my air conditioning unit. It wasn’t cooling like it should, and I don’t know much about HVAC, so I called my go-to HVAC expert, Scott. He has helped me for years and, because of that long-term trust and relationship, he came and took care of the problem quickly and efficiently.
What’s the theme here? In each example, I needed help and the businesses I went to helped me to be successful. I wanted a book. The bookstore helped me get it. I need a cool house. Scott helped me get it.
Given all that, it would seem business is here to help people find success. Whether it is goods or services, everyone has needs and businesses are here to provide for them.
But what about enhancing well-being? In my book, helping people find success equates to human well-being. Imagine how hard things would be if we didn’t have help in getting things we can’t access or doing things we can’t do or don’t know how to do, it would make life much more difficult and uncomfortable. If businesses help people get comfortable or experience less difficulty, isn’t that enhancing well-being?
Okay, SO WHAT? I can hear it now.
How many businesses would you say know or agree with this? How many, instead of this, say they are only interested in making money? That’s the big problem and why customer service is so inconsistent and difficult. If companies made enhancing human well-being the focus, imagine how different things would be. If the goal of a business were how much well-being they provided rather than how much money they made, how would our world be different and your customer experiences improved?
If you want more well-being, start looking at how you and your organization look at why the company exists. If it’s not about human well-being, start moving in a different direction. People do not come to you to just hand over their hard-earned money, they come to you for success, comfort, health, and happiness. Start supplying it.
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