Most people believe in business you have to be ruthless and calculating. And nice makes you no money. Beliefs like this keep the good people away from business, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So how much profit is enough? When a business has a policy of increasing profit targets by an arbitrary amount every year, perhaps the answer is – never enough.
I reckon most of us know this to be true deep down by how defensive we get whenever the concepts of “being nice” (being human) and business intersect. We are quick to equate nice-ness with complete business failure – as if being nice means we must stop thinking sensibly altogether!
You can still make a profit by being kind and human. Many smaller businesses do this every day, like cafes who offer free coffee and cake for the homeless guy who lives around the corner. This is what people have done for centuries before business retreated from the communal human space (the market place) into isolating glass and steel columbaria.
This isolation stops us seeing the effect of our actions on people – it is so much easier to be nasty to a non-person.