The VOLKSWAGEN way of business

It may sound reductive or simplistic to say that a profitable company is a happy company. It is also no necessarily true, but success and profits do open up a world of possibilities for a company to extend their reach and influence. The majority of modern theory regarding business says that money doesn’t actually buy happiness, and the importance of a happy company can’t be overstated. My entire book, Happy Company, is actually based on this fact, but there is still something to be said for making money in new and interesting ways, and then using those resources to create something very special in a given industry.

Volkswagen is arguably one of the most recognizable and successful brands in the world, and with its recent acquisitions of other top model automobile companies, it will likely remain near the top of that competitive industry for many years to come. However, their total revenue of more than a quarter of a trillion dollars is something that stands out in any industry, and what their approximately 13% profit of that will go towards is even more impressive. They intend to invest $80 billion in new manufacturing plants and distribution centers around the world and want to reach the undisputed top of the auto industry within 5 years. They are also pursuing sustainable manufacturing methods, lowering costs for consumers, and creating economy-specific options for many underdeveloped or underprivileged nations of the world. They wouldn’t be able to pursue any of those extremely ambitious goals without a solid foundation of resources gleaned from excellent products and an efficient infrastructure that nets them considerably more of a profit percentage than their competitors. Yet, their workers are happy, their stockholders are satisfied, and their consumers keep coming back for more.

VW seems to have shaken off the bad press that so many massively successful companies attract by quietly rising in the ranks of the auto industry in their own way. They take responsibility for their products by building almost every piece in-house, and their customer service standards are unprecedentedly good. They make money because they reinvest it back into themselves, rather than stashing it away in the coffers of CEOs and other high-paid executives. They know the value of profits, and the potential that they represent for further growth, additional company rewards, and most importantly, overall happiness of everyone involved in the business. As they say, money can’t buy happiness…but it certainly helps.

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Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.