Business is People


Back in my undergraduate days, I had the wonderful privilege of being taught by a truly remarkable man, Dr. John Miller.

He was a marketing professor at Plymouth State University during the 1980’s, a former VP of Marketing for Del Monte Foods, and possibly the most approachable and sought after professor on campus, possibly any campus. His insight, personality, humor, and ability to challenge our thinking and involve us in meaningful dialogue was the reason his table at the cafeteria was always surrounded with students hungry to connect with him.

He was a stickler for the human side of business, and every year he charged his students with the simple 3-word mantra throughout their college tenure:

“Business Is People”

To Dr. Miller, this was more than a slogan. It was a call to the very basic foundation of business. In the height of a cutthroat mentality that was being propagated back then, Dr. Miller wanted us to anchor our every tenet of thinking on this core principle. So much that every exam and term paper had to have “Business Is People” emblazoned across the top.

In driving this key thought, Dr. Miller understood the following that still applies to us today:

  • The very first business exchanges centuries ago, before technology and systems, revolved around people first.
  • In every transaction, there is at least two people that are affected.
  • In your efforts to move up and become wealthy, there are people that share in your success and depend on you to help them succeed as well.
  • Acquiring the world means nothing if people are not there to support you. Acquiring people to support you means everything if you do not have the world at your disposal.
  • Don’t lose who you are as a person for things that are temporary.
  • Every industry has one common denominator – people. The systems, business models, technologies, and products or services differ company to company. 
  • Profits are temporary. People are permanent.

While Dr. Miller has since passed, his legacy lives on in many of us his students. A legacy that will continue for as many generations as we can impact. A legacy that will positively impact people, first and foremost.


(image courtesy of


About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on July.23.2014, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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