Facebook just reported another incredible quarter in their most recent earnings call, surpassing the $10 billion mark in revenue for the first time, an astonishing 47 percent increase from the prior year. Profits soared 79 percent to $4.71 billion. They also reported having more than two billion active users, and over 23,000 employees, a 47 percent increase from the prior year.
Cause for a celebratory tone--but that's not the approach that the iconic CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg took.
You can read the full earnings call transcript here. What's remarkable about the call is that Zuckerberg dove right into the call by saying this:
"Our community continues to grow and our business is doing well. But none of that matters if our services are used in ways that don't bring people closer together. We're serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. We're investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits".
Zuckerberg is, of course, referring to his frustration with the Russian use of Facebook to influence the 2016 election campaign (among other undesired uses).
He went on to add:
"I am dead serious about this. And the reason I'm talking about this on our earnings call is that I've directed our teams to invest so much in security on top of the other investments that we're making that it will significantly impact our profits going forward, and I wanted our investors to hear that directly from me. I want to be clear about what our priority is. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits."
And just like that, Zuckerberg went back to the whole point of Facebook, to be a protected community where friends can share things that matter to them with other friends.
Profits be damned.
Now, I don't want to come across as naive. Believe me, I get the importance of delivering profit reliably and consistently. I worked for 23 years in a Fortune 25 company where VP's lost their job if they made a habit of missing profit targets.
And I don't want to imply that Zukckerberg's stance isn't just as important for future profitability and staving off critics as it for staying true to why he founded the company.
My point is to allow Zuckerberg's visible focus on purpose along with profits to inspire you to apply it to your own business. Take time to review success/progress on a broader, higher order plane.
I say conduct not just a quarterly earnings review, but a quarterly yearnings review as well.
Did you make progress on fulfilling the higher-order mission/purpose of the company, on the things employees mostly deeply yearn to impact?
Conduct a yearnings review with these three questions:
- In what key ways did we advance our purpose or mission this past quarter?
- Did we serve our end user better than we did the previous quarter? In what ways?
- Did we make our employee's work and life richer, more meaningful, and more fulfilling this past quarter? In what ways?
Yes, financial metrics take the front seat. But this journey is about so much more than that.
So take time to reflect with your teams if you've advanced the yearnings of your customers and employees, and if you've balanced profits with purpose.