Profit, not for profit, for love and the problem of metrics!

If you are smart, why is it that you don’t have your not for profit foundation, NFP?

Smart people ought to become rich, super rich and further down the road they ought to start their own NFP. The next lower version of the smart ones, with a flair for the ‘philosophical and the academic’, (this has nothing to do with the truly philosophical or truly academic) move to these NFPs to churn out the intellectual fodder essential to keep the business going!

Is business so ‘anti-social’ that we in business seek to counterbalance the evils/ or our guilt of making money (or is it creating wealth?) by creating NFPs even in emerging markets, where the business agenda still remains green and virgin. Most of us work towards retirement as if what we have been doing was so unpleasant, unlike good professionals who would practice to their grave.   If what we do is enriching we will not be retiring from work which points to the problem of work-life balance.

We need some fresh perspectives on the issue.  The more perspectives we have, closer are we to the real. It is something like designing a learning Gestalt as we did during the last weekend. The trekking, walking up the ancient forest path, the walkabout along the tank bunds, playing in the mud with the children, dancing in the rain with the musical fountain in full blast of sound and water, the rare uncluttered flow of traffic, all of them together wreaking out something powerful, an upheaval/awakening of the collective consciousness towards the transformational.

Upheaval, whispered the breeze

Upheaval, murmured the leaves

Coming on stage said the stars

Flow said the fountains

Sing said the dancers

Dance said the musicians

Let the symphony begin

Remember the dance?

Remember the song?

It is time again

Upheaval whispered the night

Upheaval echoed the wind

Snoosh, said the setting sun.

Upheaval is the breath of life, learning and love. Work that tires is the breath of death. The gestalt is complete.

Let us create another gestalt of perspectives on work itself. Before we look at work we need to look at the nature of business because it is primarily business that defines the work agenda.

“The language of business is money and the language of love is barter. This is the difference between work and work expressed as love. One is work as most of us understand it, something from which we run away on week-ends. We cannot have quality work without bringing in the love element to work” says my mentor.  The first helps us pay our bills and the latter keeps us healthy like the proverbial apple that keeps the doctor away.

As a onetime academic, I work for money to meet my essential survival requirements.  I moved out of academics to work hands on for most part of the week and found some time on weekends to teach. The latter seemed to offer some stimulation to write since I need to talk it out with somebody before I can put something down on paper.

As I grow a little more mature with age (this is not an imperative) I don’t find it as essential to keep up with the joneses. Just as I yearn to realise more of my transformational needs what I seek from work too undergoes a transformation.  I move from making money to creating wealth.

I find that my teaching does not offer all the stimulation that I look for. Very often it is about meeting some academic norm which is obsolete. I move on to work as a consultant and coach. with a small circle of students/professionals  who provide me with the stimulation that I was missing in academia.

I would say that I work with them on the barter mode because it is mutually rewarding and both the parties learn from the process. This work satisfies the transformational – meaning, emotional, spiritual. Most people understand work in the language of money, some understand work as love expressed and the significant few, understand work as learning and creating.

At times we get in touch within the circle when we get stuck with the routine.

Here is one such incident.  One of my best students, a significant one from the talking circle, calls me up. I just light up as I am sure it is going to be something of a new challenge.

J. How s your love meter going?

(The love meter is slang for how are you at work. Assumption is, work is love expressed)

S.  I wanted to discuss a problem with my love metrics.  Here is it, I am sending my metrics sheet. Please take a look

J. I was looking forward to it. We have a problem more or less a generic one and you need to break free of it. We need a one to one. When can we meet?

S. Sure, I am out of the place already. See you at the musical fountain. I hope we create another gestalt

J. We meet in about 30 minutes. That was real fast and out of the blue. We start of from where we left. There are two types of metrics, one is operational or transactional and the other is transformational. The difference is between the ‘significant few and the insignificant many’. Most metrics do not go beyond the operational to the transformational as they focus mostly on the insignificant many.  Your metrics sheet is no different.

S. What do you mean by the significant few and the insignificant many. Sounds like the chosen few.

J. The logic is simple. Focus on those few things that take you closer to the designed transformational outcomes. It is not about the talented few. Everyone is talented and is in wait for the transformational. Or if you want a crude example, in over two millennia the significant few that we remember are a handful, Buddha, Christ/Judas, Gandhi/Godse, Hitler, King. It is pathetic that we haven’t gone beyond them. We need to look at them as a gestalt and distil the essential learning to go beyond the mediocrity of the insignificant many. Once the transformational agenda is designed the operational focus will be of a different order quite unlike what you already have brought into your metrics.

S. How do we take it forward?

J. I don’t know really. I think each one of us is in a unique situation.  We need to evolve what is appropriate to our specific context and at the same time keep working on our own personal transformational agenda. When both are in balance, there is nothing to worry. So go back and rework your metrics. Remember the keywords

Operational to transformational

Insignificant many to significant few

Reconfigure the Gestalt Matrix

Do you get the gestalt?


The transformational do not wait to happen. It just happened. We go on working hard to communicate what really happened. Meanwhile we have moved from conceptualizing to creating the upheaval and awakening on ground, giving birth.


1 thought on “Profit, not for profit, for love and the problem of metrics!

  1. Pingback: Meta: The post on posts | First Discipline

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s