Interest and excitement for August Turak’s Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity continues to grow.
The book was recently shortlisted by 800-CEO-READ as one of the best business books of 2013 for the management category. As explained in the nomination, “the book’s message is clear and as business-centric as they come: you don’t need to be focused on money to make money, but instead be clear about your purpose.”
Turak was also recently interviewed for the podcast Entrepreneur of Fire , in which he discussed the factors that led him to be a successful entrepreneur.
Finally, in a recent post for the Huffington Post, Turak Tprovided a list of 9 principles of building an authentic business. These principles, developed with his partners, emphasized that success could also come with service and selflessness. The following is an excerpt from that list:
Our first principle was setting a company culture where personal growth, honesty, integrity, and selflessly putting people first were more important than making money.
Our second principle was high expectations. Starting a business based on higher values didn’t mean setting low bars and rationalizing away failure as just one of the inevitable costs of trying to do authentic business in a profane world. Instead, if we were truly in business for a higher purpose, our goals should be higher than the goals of those who were simply in it for the money. For example, we decided to begin work each morning at seven-thirty in order to get a jump start on those heathens better known as the competition. We maintained that start time for the next seven years.
Our third principle was compassion. This didn’t mean that we would never fire anyone. It meant that we would do everything we could to help everyone get over the bar — without lowering the bar. While more would be expected of some than of others, all would be expected to carry his or her own weight….
Our sixth principle was open communication. Professionally this meant having all those “awkward” business conversations that usually end up under the rug. To keep the lines of communication open, we also had to give everyone permission to make mistakes. On the personal level, this meant that our employees would always find a sympathetic ear when issues outside the business were impinging on their productivity or merely weighing on their minds….
Our final principle was to embrace a “back against the wall” mentality. Peak performance is usually a delicate balance between inspiration and desperation, and from the very beginning, like Cortés burning his ships, we wanted to build a sense of urgency into our company. As a result, though one of my partners and I were relatively well off, we invested only enough capital for one month’s office rent and phones. This came to only a couple of thousand dollars, and we decided that if we ever couldn’t bring in enough money to pay the next month’s expenses, we would close the company rather than prop it up with continual cash infusions.