In our 21st century Western culture, personal names are little more than labels to distinguish one person from another. The very best business book of the 21st century is, I believe, The Ultimate Question, by Fred Reichheld, published by Harvard Business School Press in 2006, along with its sequel, The Ultimate Question 2.0, published in 2011.
The Ultimate Question introduced a conceptual framework and metric labeled Net Promoter Score (NPS). A company’s NPS score measures, narrowly, its success at making happy versus unhappy customers.
Bain’s research demonstrates just how powerfully success at creating value for customers correlates to business success. Using a scale from -100 to +100 (in which an equal number of Promoters and Detractors would produce an NPS score of 0), the large majority of American companies had NPS scores of 5-8. In contrast, standout companies generated NPS scores above 50, with a few scoring above 80 (among the standouts: USAA, FedEx, Apple, Costco, Southwest Airlines, Enterprise Rent-A-Car). Significantly, in sector after sector, if one or two companies had noticeably better NPS scores than their competitors, then these companies enjoyed substantially superior rates of growth and profitability. In fact, the Bain study demonstrated that, on average, a 12 point increase in NPS translates to doubling a company’s rate of growth and profitability.
Why is a company’s NPS score such a powerful predictor of performance, especially its growth and profitability performance?
NPS, in fact, effectively puts a finger on the pulse of how well a business is — with respect to its customers — fulfilling the First Principle of God’s moral universe. Now Congress is holding hearings about what should be done to ensure the safety of such workers. The senator’s comment is reminiscent of a striking incident in the life of King David, recounted in 1 Chronicles, chapter 11.
A business model that delivers attractive apparel at attractive prices might engender high NPS scores from customers. On the date of this blog’s release, Eventide Funds is not an investor in the companies discussed in this blog. The material provided herein has been provided by Eventide Asset Management, LLC and is for informational purposes only. Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Eventide Gilead Fund. But in the Bible, a name told something about that person, often serving as a miniature portrait.


Reichheld has spent his career at Bain & Company — one of the premier management consulting firms in the world. The metric is the outcome of asking customers a single question: “On a 0-10 scale, how likely are you to recommend our product (or service) to friends and family?” Customers who answer with a score of 0-6 are, to varying degrees, dissatisfied.
More broadly, though, NPS proves to be an insightful measure of the value which a company’s customers believe its products and services create or extract. Scripture teaches that a good God has made ‘Love your neighbor’ the First Principle of his moral universe — and that we fulfill or violate that principle when we choose to Serve or Be Served. NPS proves to be a very effective measure of how well or poorly a company creates value for its customers and, therefore, of how well or poorly it is serving those customers.
As important as customers are, they are not the only neighbor whom business is called to love and serve.
Retail consultant Burt Flickinger said companies are reluctant to take action out of concern for their bottom lines.
But if it does so by ignoring, or even fostering, dangerous working conditions for those in its supply chain, such a business model grievously violates God’s ‘Love your neighbor’ mandate.
This blog is not meant to be an endorsement of the entirety of any company’s business model or business practices. Eventide Asset Management, LLC serves as investment adviser to mutual funds distributed through Northern Lights Distributors, LLC, member FINRA. The fund can invest in smaller-sized companies which may experience higher failure rates than larger companies normally have a lower trading volume than larger companies. He was the founder of Bain’s Loyalty Practice Group, and in 1999 was elected the firm’s first Bain Fellow. They are much more likely to discourage rather than encourage other prospective customers, and are categorized as Detractors. Bain’s research went on to demonstrate just how powerfully success at creating value for customers correlates to business success.
If customers believe a company’s products and services are decidedly valuable, they are likely to continue their purchasing, maybe even enlarge their purchasing, and they are likely to express their enthusiasm to others, helping drive still more purchasing — all without the costly, artificial stimulus of advertising. In turn, God has ordered his universe such that when we serve our neighbors, when we create good for them, over time it redounds to our benefit as well. Three of his warriors overheard him say, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” At grave risk, the warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well, and brought it back to David. For that reason, we believe our Business 360 Framework provides a better, and truly biblical, basis for evaluating how well or poorly a company’s approach to business matches God’s intent.


Northern Lights Distributors, LLC and Eventide Asset Management are not affiliated entities. The Fund’s ethical values screening criteria could cause it to under perform similar funds that do not have such screening criteria.
A few months earlier, 112 Bangladeshi garment workers were killed in a fire, unable to escape because the doors of their factory were chained shut. It looks at the impact a company’s business model has on all its neighbors, and specifically whether some portion(s) of its business model operates at the expense of some of those neighbors. The fund can have risk associated with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry in which these companies may be heavily dependent on clinical trials with uncertain outcomes and decisions made by the U.S.
And only customers who answer with a score of 9-10 are truly enthusiastic, and truly likely to promote a company’s product or service to others (Promoters). But if we serve ourselves at the expense of our neighbors, we cause, and eventually reap, harm — we create a vicious cycle instead.
No wonder, then, that companies with high NPS scores tend to be companies who reap blessing — including when it comes to their growth and profitability. Prominent American retailers, including WalMart and the Gap, were sourcing clothing through these factories. As a result, the 360 Framework points business people, and business investors, fully in the direction God has always intended — that business, for all its neighbors, should serve as a powerful engine of blessing, and as a worthy partner with God in his foundational Provider relationship with all humankind.
Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters produces a company’s Net Promoter Score. There are special risks associated with investments in foreign companies including exposure to currency fluctuations, less efficient trading markets, political instability and differing auditing and legal standards.
The fund can have risk associated with a higher portfolio turnover which could result in higher transactional costs. Instead, to the degree that the business is serving itself at the expense of its employees, or suppliers, or communities, etc., it is extracting rather than creating value for (some of) its neighbors. And this practice — taking value that rightly belongs to someone else — Scripture labels simply and bluntly as ‘stealing’ and ‘plunder’ (see Prov.



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Comments

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  2. ARAGORN
    Would likely die serving god in the 21st century oncology from a further consideration should be to ensure water could be processed, getting them.