One Year Later : Profits for a Purpose
A year later, the three couples were vacationing in Hawaii, spending one week in Maui and another week cruising the islands. Over dinner one night, the conversation turned to their study group, which had grown to include more than three dozen dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, and staff members from the Grand Forks area. As a large group, they met monthly, but Brian, Joe, and Rich tried to meet weekly by phone for at least an hour to continue the learning process.
All three had zero staff turnover the previous year and had grown their practices by more than 25 percent in revenues and almost 40 percent in profits. Jen commented that while Brian was happier with his practice than ever before, he still seemed to be dissatisfied about something. Barb noted that Joe appeared to have the same affliction. Only Rich, according to Liz, was fully content.
During the conversation, Brian remarked, “My goal is not to have zero turnover, and it’s not just to make more and more money.”
“So what is your goal?” asked Rich.
“That’s just it,” Brian answered morosely. “I’ve thought and thought about it, and I don’t know. I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made, but sometime over the year, the excitement wore off.”
Joe expressed the same sentiment, then remarked, “Rich, you seem to not be having the same problem. Want to tell us your secret?”
Rich smiled, put his arm around Liz, and said, “It took us a while—probably two years—but Liz and I finally decided to have ‘profits for a purpose.’ Now, some part of all the net profit goes to helping build and support educational programs in inner city schools and colleges. Some of our staff has gotten involved as well.”
“What made you decide on that particular ‘purpose’? And how come you never told us about this before?” Jen asked, sounding a little miffed.
“When I was in school, Liz and I had taken several university-sponsored trips to third world countries where I volunteered my student dental services. Mostly I was extracting teeth in villages in the middle of nowhere. We saw poverty and death due to lack of understanding about health care. During my residency training, we saw a similar lack of understanding and knowledge about good health with inner city children in our own country, despite the availability of health care in various academic centers. We want to teach them cause-and-effect logic and about negative consequences of their actions. We hope to influence children when they are young so that they can learn to think for themselves and become scientists or doctors if they want to. I guess we never mentioned it because it’s our interest. I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m pus/>