Be Alltruistic. (Episode 114)

Be Alltruistic. (Episode 114)

Interview with Ola Litström, VP Digitalization and Training Platforms EMT at Höganäs AB. 


Here’s a lesson in how to approach business:

Do not go for selfishness, ie “lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure”. Selfishness might benefit us sometimes, but it’s not a strategy for long-term winning.

But also, do not go for altruism, i.e., the “disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.”

Altruism is the opposite of selfishness.  And while altruism might sound like an honorable strategy, let’s be frank: true altruism is rare, and altruistic people are few and far apart.

Instead, go for “Alltruism” – “An interested and selfish concern for the wellbeing of all.”

Yes, Alltrusim is a made-up word, but it’s a word I think we really need.

Business is built on the concept of caring for others – in a way that benefits yourself.

Business is built on Alltrusim.

And Alltrusim works well, perhaps that’s why business is built upon it.

An example:

You are sitting in a room, and someone throws a hand grenade into the room.

An egoistic person runs out of the room to save herself.

An altruistic person throws herself on the grenade to save everyone else except herself.

An alltruistic person throws a sandbag on the grenade and saves not just everyone else, but also herself.

Clearly, both for the person and the rest of the group the Alltrustic mindset is the best.

The Golden Rule states, “Treat others as you would want to be treated by them.”

The Alltruistic Rule states: “Treat others in a way that benefit them – as well as yourself – the most.”

And that’s why the Alltruistic mindset works so well for business. A great salesperson will give the best solution to the client – what they truly want and need – while at the same time making his commission.

If we are just egoistic in business, we end up with Ponzi schemes.

If we are too altruistic in business, we will go out of business.

I learned about Alltrusim from Ola Litström, VP Digitalization and Training Platforms EMT at Höganäs AB. Höganäs – founded in 1797 (!) – is the world’s leading manufacturer of iron, metal, and ceramic powders.

Ola gave me a perfect example of Alltrusim in business.

When a customer wants to return a product which they are not happy with, Höganäs will offer to come to their clients and offer to diagnose the production processes of the customer to find better ways for the customer to operate. Because Höganäs has realised that often there is not an issue with Höganäs’s product, but there is something else wrong in their customer’s processes that the customers have wrongly attributed to Höganäs’s products. So Höganäs goes in and looks at the whole process to find the actual error.

It’s short term egoistic – Höganäs doesn’t want the products returned. So, if they can find what’s actually wrong, they do not get those products returned.

It’s long term egoistic – by helping the customer they get to keep the business.

It’s strategically egoistic – it builds deeper relations with the client.

But it’s also altruistic, they help their customer develop better processes without charging for it.

All in all, it’s Alltruistic – it’s “an interested and a selfish concern for the wellbeing of all.”

Ola told me: “Egoism is not just often morally wrong, it’s also not very effective in business. And when it comes to altruism, let’s be honest: there just aren’t enough “angel like rich people” in the world to fix our problems with no personal gain or benefit involved.

But Alltrusim works. In the big and in the small. In personal life and in business.”

He gave an example of wearing a mask during the pandemic. It was good to help you from not getting sick, but also good for helping others not get sick if you were infected. Egoistic and altruisitc, in other words: Alltruistic.

Alltrusim is the mindset that works for business.

Be alltruistic – Approach what you do with “An interested and a selfish concern for the wellbeing of all.”

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