just cause volunteering

What is Not a Just Cause

We’ve discussed what Simon Sinek describes as “just causes.” We detailed the aspects that differentiate a just cause from a mission statement and how a reasonable cause differs from your “why” within that realm. We understand the reasons to be the following:

  • For something: you are trying to achieve something rather than not doing something.
  • Inclusive: utilizes all of your organizational pieces
  • Service of others: you serve others rather than yourself
  • Resilient: can stand the test of time
  • Idealistic: ideals transcend time and change rather than just today’s product or method.


While it is vitally important to the success of your business to identify your just cause, it is equally important to determine what is not a reasonable cause. Companies often build their dream around what they think is a just cause.

However, unless all five categories can be checked off in your cause, then you do not have an actual just cause. Attempting to build up your business without an end goal in mind and the correct building blocks, i.e., just cause, will set your business up for failure.

Beware of a False Cause and Imposter Cause

A false cause is precisely as it sounds, it is the idea that you have done well and set forth your just cause, but in reality, you have only fooled yourself into believing a lie. Typically no business leader will choose to adopt a false cause; it’s simply an accident.

Instead, a business leader struggles to find adequate or correct words to embody their vision, or in some cases, a business leader lacks the ability to envision at all. An imposter cause is thought that aspirations like moon shots and the best of the best ideals are a substitution for a just cause.

It’s also worth noting that many business leaders confuse corporate social responsibility for a just cause. Incorrectly identifying any of these factors as a truly just cause will ultimately lead to your business failing to thrive in the long haul.

Why Knowing What Is Not a True Just Cause is Important

As with any good plan, it is exceptionally important to know what to do, but it is equally important to know what not to do. Knowing the warning signs beforehand can help you steer clear of trouble or help you decide if it is necessary to reevaluate your just cause. Understanding potential pitfalls before they happen can save you and your business time and turmoil.

How Failing to Have a Just Cause Can Hurt Your Business

Potential investors, worthwhile employees, and consumers will be hesitant or utterly resistant to utilizing or considering your business as it will lack a true core without establishing a just cause. Keen on the idea that time is money, investors, particularly, will not waste time on a company that cannot identify why they exist and why it is important to know its purpose.

Instead, they will put their time and financials into a company with a well-established just cause and pursue its cause with purpose. While businesses that have not established or identified their specific just cause are not bad, it does mean that more time is needed to understand the business they wish to pursue.

You Must First Believe in Your Just Cause Before Others Will

A just cause is a deeply personal belief and purpose. In theory, it becomes the literal guiding force between your day-to-day business interactions. A genuine passion for not only your business but the way the world perceives your business is what will help you advance your business to where you would like it to go.

Remember that a just cause has the infinite game in mind and not the finite. Utilizing a just cause statement for momentary support is shortchanging your business’s true potential.

Moon Shots Are Not a Just Cause

The proverbial moonshot is a grandiose idea of what could be. It is the reach for the stars, and the idea that anything is possible if you just believe; the ideal. Business leaders often utilize the moon shot objective to inspire and encourage. While this may seem like a worthy idea to pursue, the issue lies in the after.

What happens after you achieve the moon shot? Do you pursue another lofty goal? Does your job and purpose end there? Keeping an infinite game in mind will help you avoid ambitious but overall finite goals, as they do nothing to help your business grow in the long run.

Being the Best is Not a Just Cause

Being the best is a mindset often adopted by business leaders. This is because it is easy to convince oneself that because they have a product that consumers buy, then that is the equivalent to success. However, consider how often trends change and consumers change buying patterns.

A “we are the best” mindset will only get you so far because there is no determining factor in how long you will be the best. Without an actual just cause to navigate why you do what you do, your business is not likely to survive changing trends and mindsets.

Growth is Not a Just Cause

The desire to grow your company is not an evil ambition. The majority of companies would say they desire to see their business grow. However, when you attempt to market growth as your company’s cause, you convolute your purpose with your desire.

Growth is a tool we can utilize to continue to project the actual cause of our business, and it is not the true purpose of a business. Incorporating how you will use growth to advance your cause is essential to stay consistent with an infinite game mindset.

Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not a Just Cause

Companies that show the world how “good” they are by donating to charity, funding scholarships, or holding charity benefits typically lose sight of their actual cause. Doing good deeds through your business is not a bad thing.

However, it is not necessarily beneficial if it is not directly tied to why your business exists. For example, if you have the mindset that you will make money and do good, you have fallen into a finite perspective. Understanding that your business can do good while making money is a proper understanding of an infinite goal.

Living Pono is dedicated to communicating business management concepts with Hawaiian values. Founded by Kevin May,  an established and successful leader and mentor, Living Pono is your destination to learn about how to live your life righteously and how that can have positive effects in your career. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us here. Also, join our mailing list below, so you can be alerted when a new article is released.

Finally, consider following the Living Pono Podcast to listen to episodes about living righteously, business management concepts, and interviews with business leaders.

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