what great companies do differently

G reat companies identify something larger than transactions to provide purpose and meaning.

Now, that’s said in short. But what do they really do, that differs them from the rest? -And what is a great company?

Let’s start with the traditional and narrow image of why companies exist; that it’s sole purpose is to make money. The focus is on maximizing short term profits and delivering return to it’s stakeholders. All decisions are expressed in financial terms.

In what way do you measure a great company? Solely by it’s financial success? By it’s market share? By it’s reputation or Social responsibility reports or by it’s world changing innovations?  There are many great companies in the world today and they all do various things that make them great. It sometimes may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what they do that’s different, but then again, we all know a great company when we see it. Below are some of the things that great companies do differently.

We all know that keeping a company alive requires financial resources, so of course a keen focus on the numbers is key. However, great companies are willing to sacrifice short-term financial opportunities, for the long term perspective.

All companies usually say that it is their people who matter most and that without them, they are nothing. Still, few companies actually acknowledge this fact truly and act upon it. Great companies treat their workforce with respect and actually cares about their employees. And they show it too, through various investments, schemes and other actions to further build on this. In return, they get involvement from their employees,  positive emotions, motivation and loyalty.

Some companies make great financial investments. Great companies invest in the future, in society, in their customers, in the people who work for them (or who someday will) and their families.

Good companies work to make money. Great companies work to make money but at the same time, let their choices of how to do so also reflect on building enduring institutions in society.

Articulating a purpose broader than making money can open new sources for innovation.  Great companies find innovative ways to solve world problems.

 To all the entrepreneurs out there: let’s not think solely in terms of profit. Let’s do more, let’s do better, let’s do great things. Let’s be high performing and admired at the same time.  Let’s get money from those who’ve got money to pay, but let’s not forget to give back to those who don’t. And let’s provide a meaningful livelihood for the people who work for us.

What is your definition of a great company?