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How (un)sustainable is it to make money and do good at the same time?

As we were considering the purpose of our Inspiring Culture Association, we found a quote from an apprentice, in Switzerland, 40 years ago, who, in order to successfully pass his exams had to know by heart the following values:

  1. A company is primarily an employer whose purpose is to provide decent work and means of living to people;

  2. Respecting the environment means reducing and recycling waste as much as possible;

  3. Business partners such as clients, vendors and competitors deserve respect;

  4. Being a good citizen, paying one’s taxes, is paramount

  5. Making money is essential in order to guarantee the company’s sustainability.

Looking at the above values and thinking about today’s individual, corporate or political scandals, the many cases of ethical misconduct and the pervasive lack of a higher purpose, it seems like we have not made much progress!

Our first question is: What do we need to do to translate good intentions into positive actions and behaviors?

Now, remember a time when things did not turn out as expected with a client, a vendor, an employee or a boss… How did it go wrong? Is it that intentions changed, the purpose shifted? Or is it that one of the players lost track of the common good?

We know that if we focus and stay on purpose, as opposed to get stuck in a problem situation, we will actually find a solution and resolve the impasse.

Coming back to the basic timeless values above, what happened that we seem to have lost them in the transition? What went wrong?

One reason is that we have become increasingly self-centered as organizations and individuals, and also put too much emphasis on generating shareholder/owner returns, at the expense of the other stakeholders.

The silver lining is that there is now a clear shift of mindset in the corporate world and society at large towards implementing greater values, serve a higher purpose and achieve sustainability: gender equality, inclusion & diversity, work culture transformation, environmental awareness and the respect of all stakeholders are becoming irresistible trends.

If you want to avoid “lip service”, nice posters and webpages with lists of empty values, leaving your people in need of a better work place, we invite you to act now. Beyond lofty words the purpose of having values is to live them in all of our interactions.

What do we propose?

“Treat your employees well and they’ll take care of your customers”.

Our goal is to partner and work with organizations and individuals intent on moving towards a higher purpose and on pursuing the common good. Practically, this means working with you to translate specific principles into effective decisions, actions, behaviors and habits.

We take our inspiration from the “Blueprint for Better Business’’ and we work with our clients to make progress in:

  • Showing respect and acknowledge that other people matter

  • Developing accountable employees with freedom and responsibility

  • Building trust and trusted relationships with all stakeholders

  • Valuing diversity and building bridges

  • Developing a sustainable business

As a first step and measure of coherence in your organization, you can already check if you are demonstrating alignment between what you believe, what you value, what you say and what you do. Also:

  • Can your people really speak up?

  • Do they really feel free to tell you whatever they have on their mind even if you don’t like to hear it?

  • What is the cost of silence in your company?

We would love to hear about you:

Follow us here and/or on LinkedIn, call us on +41 21 320 60 63 or email at


We, at Inspiring Culture Association, are passionate professionals with a diverse international leadership background.

We encourage businesses and individuals to serve a higher purpose and to deliver a sustainable performance by being:

  • honest and fair with customers and suppliers;

  • a responsible and responsive employer;

  • a good citizen;

  • a guardian for future generations.

Read about us here: Inspiring Culture Association

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