“What Does It Take to be a Manager?” - Boyd Clarke
It's common to think of business purely in terms of profit. The goal of a business is, in the end, all about making money, right? Without profits your business will fail. Well, as Boyd points out, there may be more to it than that.
He sees business in terms of responsibility; to customers, to employees, and to shareholders. Good managers balance these responsibilities effectively, so that their businesses are sustainable, beneficial, and integrated within their communities. Of course profits are necessary to fuel this, but it's important to keep our means and ends straight.
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TRANSCRIPT: I think it's important for people to understand that in any business—and this is what I often have reminded my own employees as I have managed companies—you really have a threefold responsibility. The first responsibility is to their customers. In my case, my customers are patients, and I have an obligation to provide them the best possible medicine, as soon as possible, at the best possible price . . . consistent with the cost of development. The second obligation that a company has is to its employees. You can't necessarily provide them employment for the rest of their lives, but what you can do is provide them opportunities to grow and to develop, to enhance their skills, to be compensated for their skills, and so that when they leave the company they will be different than when they joined. The third responsibility—and this is not necessarily an order of priority, but it's important to recognize—is to your investors or shareholders. These are people that give you capital and expect a premium for the risk that they are taking. The essence of business is understanding how to balance; you have a responsibility to your customers, to your employers, and to your investors, and there's often a tension between those. It's managing that tension that is the core of management.