Jim Collins on why we exist

Stumbled upon this article from 1995, Building a Visionary Organization is a DIY Project: A Conversation with James C. Collins by Joe Flower. Although the article is more than ten years old, many principles and ideas still apply.

What are the timeless core values of what you do? Why do you exist? Suppose you could somehow shut down your institution without anyone losing their jobs? What would be lost? How would the world be worse off? When you have thought about that, then you can put everything that you are doing up against that purpose, and you can say, "Is what we are doing here serving that purpose?"

On the relationship between purpose and profits:

Is your life about eating? We all have to eat to survive, but our lives are about more than eating. Organizations must make a profit, or meet their margin, to survive. But to be great they must be about more than survival. David Packard at Hewlett-Packard understood that HP exists to make technical contributions. But in order to make technical contributions it must make a profit. Profit is a necessary condition for pursuing the organization's true goals.