by Karen Noble

In 1998, Sam Mogannam reopened the small, family-run Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco’s now trendy Mission neighborhood. At the time, the area was rife with drug deals and other crimes, but Sam took a risk and removed the bars from the windows, revamped the product offerings, and renovated the little grocery store into a place that welcomed the community.

He grew this community by cultivating important, life-giving relationships with local producers, and provided educational opportunities for employees and customers, taking them on field trips to local farms to gain knowledge, develop relationships, and build ownership.

Today it is a resounding success—a profitable business with an energizing purpose.

Profits + Purpose = Thriving
For decades, we have focused on the differences between corporations and nonprofit/NGO organizations. The primary distinction, of course, being function—a corporation’s function is to make a profit and a nonprofit’s is to fulfill a people-directed purpose. This is changing as young professionals are transforming the definition of success in any organization to include “living a good life” and “doing something greater than oneself.”

The landscape of business is evolving as new technology reshapes how we connect, buy and sell, create, travel, share, and prioritize. Amidst this change, we have a great opportunity to transform the way we experience work—recreating the workplace to include a new way of being, as well as financial health.

How to Get There: A Model for Change
So how do we change our organizations into thriving entities of both purpose and positive bottom line? One important way is to be intentional about instilling a culture of workplace well-being; I have developed the M5 Model, illustrated in the fun poster above. (You can download the poster here.)

This model provides an easy roadmap for understanding and planning for organizational well-being. Its elements include:

  • 1. Mindfulness—Apply methods of intentional focus to improve productivity and decision-making abilities.
  • 2. Mentoring—Encourage life-giving relationships focused on identifying and leveraging strengths.
  • 3. Movement—Nurture well-being with energizing stretch breaks; encourage “moving meetings.”
  • 4. Motivation—Diversify compensation. Once our basic needs are met, research shows that cash is a short-term motivator at best. Highly positive enterprises design their policies to provide experience opportunities, regularly facilitate listening to employees, consistently recognize achievement, and become adept at the use of stretch goals to fuel inspiration.
  • 5. Meaning—Foster an organizational culture of people who feel valued and whose jobs have meaning; practice job crafting and approach jobs as “callings.” Reframe products or services and identify their positive purpose in customers’ lives.

While we still need to overcome deeply instilled management systems and the belief that nonprofits are the only organizations with purpose, the next generation of the work force is changing the paradigm to redefine success to include profit and purpose. Positive psychology provides the tools to change workplace culture to value well-being, through a strength-based mindset and a new way of being at work.

Click here to learn more about the Certificate in Positive Psychology.

Karen Noble is the principal of Noble Concepts Inc., which provides consulting, executive coaching, and facilitation services spanning a wide range of both corporate and nonprofit businesses. She has a master’s degree in Organization Change Management from The New School in Manhattan, and also holds a Certificate in Leadership and Change. She is currently working on her Certificate in Positive Psychology.