Winning with Purpose
I relish competition! Maybe it is because I grew up playing sports and learning that I enjoyed competing and winning way more than losing. Maybe it is because winning, in the competitive arena, demands your very best. Maybe it’s because winning in business normally requires a team effort, and I like working in a team setting. Whatever it is, competition is something I have always loved. But winning, achievement, and reaching a certain level of success can be hollow without purpose. After 30+ years of competing each and every day, I have come to the conclusion that winning is really fun, but sharing the spoils of winning creates fulfillment and purpose.
I also believe that the juices that start to flow in the midst of a competitive battle can be the same juices that ignite a compassionate responsibility for those in our community. What I have learned over the years is that capitalism and compassion can co-exist and that — gasp! — business can be a force for good.
How Can Business Be a Force for Good?
I personally know a great many smart and good-hearted business leaders in the Colorado community. Some of the very best people I know are CEOs, business owners, and entrepreneurs. They care about their employees and the people in their communities a great deal. Most of these business leaders are willing (and wanting) to engage in helping others, but there are so many daunting questions:
- What organization should we support?
- How can my employees get involved?
- How much time will this require?
- Will our involvement send the wrong signal to my employees, shareholders, customers, or partners?
These are common questions that can stop us from taking action.
Getting Companies Involved
For nearly 10 years, my company has been actively involved with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. Zunesis employees have worked diligently to build homes for hard working families in the Denver community. Each year we do a build day where we all put on hard hats and work together to help construct the home we are sponsoring that year – “the Zunesis home.”
This engagement has served as a very practical way for my small business to give back and support our neighbors in our own community. We even get to work side-by-side with families who will be moving into the home when completed. Seeing the lives of hard working families in our community completely changed by having a secure, safe, and stable place that they call home is something that never loses its luster or excitement.
Being part of something that transcends success in business and tangibly blesses people in our community has been good for my employees and our business. I’m guessing that many business leaders and CEOs also want to get involved in supporting their communities, but they may not know how to get started. I learned that a great place to start is to ask your employees. It is likely that you will find some great ideas and maybe some passion that can be leveraged to get the ball rolling.
I would also encourage you to talk with other CEOs and business leaders about what they are doing. There are so many great ways to give back, and most organizations have a method and a process for you to get engaged. If you want to know about how to get engaged with Habitat for Humanity, I would be happy to share my personal experience and get you connected to the right people. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Colorado became the place where Capitalism and Compassion freely found common ground?