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Built On Purpose: Johnson & Johnson

So far the philosophies of the companies I've spotlighted in previous issues are simple, easy to unde

Built On Purpose

November 12 · Issue #5 · View online
A newsletter which introduces you to a great, purposeful, and inspiring company every other week.

So far the philosophies of the companies I’ve spotlighted in previous issues are simple, easy to understand, and memorable. However, there is no one right template for business philosophy. Not everything has to be simple and easily digestible like a TED talk or a tweet. Some organizations express their philosophy in long form essays instead of one liners and a list of values.
Why would you want to go with a format like this? I’d argue with the famous quote of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Prose and paragraphs of words are like a powerful speech that is much more effective at stirring up your emotions and invoking a sense of pride. 
In this issue and the next, I’m sharing two enterprises that have such expressions of their philosophy. 
On that note I present you the Credo of Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson’s Credo
We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services. In meeting their needs everything we do must be of high quality. We must constantly strive to reduce our costs in order to maintain reasonable prices. Customers’ orders must be serviced promptly and accurately. Our suppliers and distributors must have an opportunity to make a fair profit.
We are responsible to our employees, the men and women who work with us throughout the world. Everyone must be considered as an individual. We must respect their dignity and recognize their merit. They must have a sense of security in their jobs. Compensation must be fair and adequate, and working conditions clean, orderly and safe. We must be mindful of ways to help our employees fulfill their family responsibilities. Employees must feel free to make suggestions and complaints. There must be equal opportunity for employment, development and advancement for those qualified. We must provide competent management, and their actions must be just and ethical.
We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well. We must be good citizens – support good works and charities and bear our fair share of taxes. We must encourage civic improvements and better health and education. We must maintain in good order the property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources.
Our final responsibility is to our stockholders. Business must make a sound profit. We must experiment with new ideas. Research must be carried on, innovative programs developed and mistakes paid for. New equipment must be purchased, new facilities provided and new products launched. Reserves must be created to provide for adverse times. When we operate according to these principles, the stockholders should realize a fair return.
8 Fun Facts About the Johnson & Johnson Credo
I learned the most striking insight about this credo from the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It’s about prioritizing who you serve. 
I will leave you with McKeown’s wonderful explanation: 
Contrast this with how Johnson & Johnson bounced back from the tragic cyanide murder scandal in 1982. At the time Johnson & Johnson owned 37 percent of the market and Tylenol was their most profitable product. Then reports surfaced that seven people had died after taking Tylenol. It was later discovered that these bottles had been tampered with. How should Johnson & Johnson respond? The question was a complicated one. Was their primary responsibility to ensure the safety of their customers by immediately pulling all Tylenol products off drugstore shelves? Was their first priority to do PR damage control to keep shareholders from dumping their stock? Or was it their duty to console and compensate the families of the victims first and foremost?
Fortunately for them they had the Credo: a statement written in 1943 by then chairman Robert Wood Johnson that is literally carved in stone at Johnson & Johnson headquarters. Unlike most corporate mission statements, the Credo actually lists the constituents of the company in priority order. Customers are first; shareholders are last. As a result, Johnson & Johnson swiftly decided to recall all Tylenol, even though it would have a massive impact (to the tune of $ 100 million, according to some reports) on their bottom line. The safety of customers or $ 100 million? Not an easy decision. But the Credo enabled a clearer sense of what was most essential. It enabled the tough trade-off to be made.
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