Looptail: A book review by Bob Morris

LooptailLooptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business
Bruce Poon Tip
BusinessPlus (2013)

How and why core values and shared purpose can help any social enterprise to achieve sustainable profitability

The most popular career advice includes the suggestion to do what you love and love what you do because what you love to do is probably what you do best. I think there is wisdom in that suggestion (not everyone agrees with it) and I thought about it as I began to work my way through this book. According to Bruce Poon Tip, he developed his business philosophy based on the “Looptail”: a three-pronged approach that enables any business to be — simultaneously — profit-driven, purpose-driven, and people-driven. It’s so named because everything invested in a business is returned in abundance in terms of profitability and employee loyalty. For me, a Looptail approach creates a win-win-win situation. Sustainable profitability ensures substantial monetary as well as non-monetary (i.e. psychological and spiritual) benefits for stakeholders, those whom they are privileged to serve, and the communities in which the given enterprise conducts business.

Poon Tip cites his own company, G Adventures, as a case in point. Not only does its business philosophy explain its extraordinary success in a global marketplace; that success probably could not have been achieved without it. More to the point, that same philosophy (with only minor modifications) can help almost any other purpose-driven company to achieve sustainable profitability, whatever its size and nature may be.

This is what Poon Tip has in mind when observing, “Once you clearly define your purpose as a company, and you build the right team of people who see their work as more of a calling than a job, that question of whether to keep growing just disappears. The more you grow, the more you can accomplish. This is the Looptail in action; as you find your purpose, pursue it and pay it forward, you want to keep growing so that you can have a greater impact on a social level.” It is by no means a coincidence that the companies annually ranked among the most highly regarded and best to work for are also among the companies that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry segment.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Poon Tip’s coverage.

o Adjustments to immigration by Poon Tip family (Pages 19-23)
o Origins of G Adventures (44-55)
o Delfin, “a deeply humble and serene man” (72-75)
o Looptail: Brining ideas together (92-93)
o Company-building process of entrepreneurship (99-101)
o Creating solid innovation through social media (139-140)
o Triple bottom line philosophy (148-149)
o Implementing the “20/70/10 Rule” (155-159 and 173-174)
o Achieving happiness through meaningful connections (180-184)
o Looptail: Bringing happiness and freedom to a workplace (188-189)
o Creating positive impact in the world (192-193 and 221-222)
o Women’s leadership role, and Women’s Leadership Camp (206-209)
o G Adventures’ examples of “paying it forward” (228-238)
o Commitment to Excellence, and, Zombie Apocalypse (253-256)

Before concluding his thoughtful and thought-provoking memoir, Poon Tip shares an especially moment in his life when he had the opportunity to meet and be with His Holiness the Dalai Lama just before he spoke to a sold-out crowd in a sports stadium in Ottawa. There was a seat saved for Poon Tip at the side of the stage. Amidst the thunderous chants and cheers from the vast audience around him, “It was quiet in my mind, but the words from His Holiness rang out like a thunderstorm. Everything came crashing in on me, and I was overwhelmed. This was my Looptail. This was the full circle I had completed, and everything I had been through, I was now free.” His journey of personal discovery and spiritual fulfillment is provided in this book and what he shares may, just may, help others to achieve their own Looptail.

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