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Principles that form the foundation of profit

2 min read


SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Halla Tomasdottir, a co-founder of Audur Capital, a financial-services firm.

The financial crisis in Iceland was an illustration of what can happen when there is no balance between seeking ever-greater profit and other considerations, Halla Tomasdottir says. Risk is disregarded, as is long-term and non-economic concerns. Audur Capital’s clients avoided taking large losses in Iceland, but that wasn’t because the firm predicted the crisis.

“Now, in the wildest dreams of mine, I could not have foreseen the almost total collapse of the financial sector of Iceland, but I knew there was going to be serious, serious problems ahead,” she says. “And so we were risk aware and went with our gut feeling as much as our analytical and rational thinking.”

The state of mind that ignores risk and favors short-term economic gain above all else is what Tomasdottir considers to be a financial world driven solely by masculine values. There’s no need to abandon such values, nor should “feminine” values act to dismantle the system. Instead, these five values are meant to offer a balanced mindset.

  • Independent advice and solutions.
  • Assurance that risk is known before decisions are made.
  • Due diligence that includes an analysis of people factors along with financial concerns.
  • Honesty and transparency in client communications.
  • Profit that is principled and is measured in a broad way.

“We want to make profit as a company, we want to make profit on behalf of our customers, but we really care how profit is made,” Tomasdottir says.

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