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“Extractive” and “Contributive”

What can my company contribute to society?

That’s a remarkably powerful question, and so much different than the typical way of thinking about business. The usual attitude is “extractive” – in other words, how can I get more than an equal share. More customers, more money, more market.

That’s a zero-sum mindset. And there’s a different way of thinking.

I like to call it “contributive” – but honestly, that’s about as clumsy a word as “extractive” is. In real words, it’s about making a positive difference in the world.

That’s no zero-sum game.

I was thinking about this today because I was reading about the 2020 Best For Colorado Awards. It’s a very uplifting program, recognizing all the great things that companies are doing across the state.

These are organizations committed to the concept that business can be a force for good. Not just delivering value to customers, but for all the other stakeholders too: employees, partners, the community – and the world.

They end up being remarkably profitable and sustainable as well, but for them money isn’t the ONLY goal. Money’s just the way that you have freedom to make a deeper impact, and sustain your organization over time.

So today’s question is … What’s the larger contribution you’re making in the world? And are you giving the world more than you’re extracting from it?

I blog regularly on this topic on a site called The Values Based Business.  If you find this article interesting…

Check it out now



About the Author

Carl Dierschow

Carl Dierschow is our Small Fish Business Coach in Colorado in the USA. With over 17 years of experience in professional business coaching, he helps clients around the world to build profitable, powerful, sustainable companies. You may want to check out his targeted blogs at and

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