It’s great to see my partners @MartinJenkins and their clients in New Zealand making strides forwards (see here). It is progress when communications and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) teams unite under the purpose banner*. But to deliver sustainable success for all it is critical that Executive Teams and their Board’s grasp the initiative and hot-wire purpose into the core of their business strategy. When that happens purpose is elevated and given the status it requires to affect real change. It subsumes old school generic mission/vision statements and becomes THE Single Organising Idea (SOI), of the business and the ecosystem it both influences and relies upon.
The positive impact of an SOI is tangible and in some parts of the ecosystem almost immediate. For example, internally staff sense being part of a new and meaningful movement that matters not only to the wellbeing of the business but to their own personal wellbeing. Externally, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors aligned with an SOI designed to deliver sustainable value for all stakeholders, attracts interest from long-term institutional investors. Meanwhile, admiration of the SOI sparks interest from the most motivated in the employment market and game changing innovations that align with the SOI arrive via new, dynamic partnerships and enhanced collaboration with existing ones in supply chains and elsewhere.
It’s all very positive and of course all very possible, but to make any of this happen we need the ‘activist CEO’s’ touted by Edelman @Davos in January and referenced in various publications like the Harvard Business Review and CEO Magazine to show up, get involved and start delivering.
This does NOT mean speaking out or standing up for ‘cherry-picked’ causes. That is just cynical short-term brand management, dressed up as CSR or Shared Value with an eye on the perceived ‘brand preferences’ of Millennials.
No. This is about radical realignment and organisational development that will deliver practical outcomes. It’s about fundamentally redirecting the businesses they lead to deliver actions at scale that will save planet and people.
The tools are there to activate and achieve such a transformation as demonstrated during SOI®SparkLabs in New Zealand, in the USA with Sustainable Brands – @SustianBrandsand in the UK at Business Fights Poverty – @FightPoverty in the last four months. But according to the experts the time to use them is fast running out; https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-heatwaves/think-the-heatwave-was-bad-climate-already-hitting-key-tipping-points-idUKKCN1UN065
Neil Gaught is the author of CORE: How a Single Organizing Idea can Change Business for Good published by Routledge. CORE is available at Amazon and other stores in paperback, audio and Kindle. In the USA you can find it here – paperback, audio and Kindle.
CORE was a finalist at the 2018 Business Book Awards