Few changes promise to have more leverage in the long journey toward sustainability than aligning investment capital flows with sound social and environmental stewardship. Bragdon provides quantitative confirmation that such alignment can produce superior financial performance. --Peter Senge, Author of The Fifth Discipline and founding chair of SoL
This is a landmark book, one which freshly imagines and reframes the basic purposes of the corporation in accord with our democratic values. It is especially welcome during a period of extreme doubt and cynicism about the morality of unhinged capitalism. --Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Management at the University of Southern California and author of On Becoming a Leader
Business is going to play a role in getting us out of the hole that business helped dig. Bragdon has done a masterful job of understanding how that might happen, and he's done it by going to the very roots of corporate behavior. --Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and The Wealth of Communities
From the Inside Flap
Two fundamentally different models of capitalism are operating in the business world today. One is self-destructive and increasingly corrupt. The other is emergent, flourishing, and inspirational. The essential differences between the two are not well understood, although global stock and bond markets see clear differences in their results. In Profit for Life
, Jay Bragdon explains those essential differences, and reveals the extraordinary results of the more successful model.
The book's title conveys an important message. Firms that aim to profit for life must respect life. For them, profit is not a primary goal but a means to higher ends of service. They think and behave in ways that continually affirm life--from their corporate missions, visions, and values to the ways they are organized and managed. Their operating leverage resides in their capacity to inspire. Profit for Life explains why these exemplars attract the most loyal employees, strategic partners, customers, and investors. Bragdon draws a clear line of demarcation between these two mental models. The emergent model sees the company as an organic, living system whose primary means of growth are living assets (people and Nature). Their growth strategies naturally emphasize stewardship of living assets--serving people and Nature. The decaying model, by contrast, sees the firm as a profit-making machine whose growth is driven by nonliving (capital) assets. Accordingly, their strategies look to increase the scale of capital assets.
These differing frames of reference take companies in radically different directions. Living-asset stewards think holistically--in terms of partnering with Nature and society--because they know their health is ultimately tied to the well-being of these larger living systems. Conversely, those wedded to the mechanistic model dismiss many of their effects on Nature and society as "externalities"-- diversions from their linear goals of producing profit. These differences are particularly evident in their respective metric systems and the ways they manage their supply chains. Profit for Life draws on a learning laboratory of 60 companies--collectively called the Global Living Asset Management Performance (LAMP) Index®--whose average credit ratings, longevity, and growth rates far exceed those of their peers.
Learn why companies like Toyota, Nucor, and Southwest Airlines have, since 1970,distinguished themselves from the ranks of also-rans to become the most profitable firms in their industries without layoffs, and why the companies that once dominated their industries are now either bankrupt, taken over, or foundering. Discover, as well, how companies that measure their ages in centuries, such as Nokia, HSBC, and Stora Enso, retain their flexibility and youthful energy.