Over the past two years, there has been a growing demand for businesses to set goals that go beyond the traditional maximization of revenue, to have a purpose.
A purpose is not just the company’s mission and values. Being purposeful means having a specific goal that could help the society as a whole. It goes beyond financial performance and serves the greater good.
The right purpose gives identity and integrity to an organization, provides meaningful work for its members and adds value to social partners (stakeholders) – in short, it is the value compass of the organization. At the same time, the business must produce good financial results with a long-term reference horizon.
The phenomenon of the ‘great resignation’ (or the idea of ‘lying flat’, or tang ping in Chinese ) of employees who leave their jobs en masse even without having found a new job has caused intense discussions and reflection worldwide on how leaders and businesses will manage to create a healthy environment that will retain and attract new talents.
Jack London had said that “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.” Paraphrasing the words of the well-known American author, I would say that the purpose of businesses is to ‘live’ through their brand purpose.
After two years of confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where the sustainability took on a key role, the need for the modern business to evolve around a purpose and to ‘listen’ to employees, consumers, partners – to the society as a whole – has emerged. The pandemic has greatly changed the perception of things, what has real value, what is authentic. There has been a rapid increase in the demand for social responsibility from the groups we work with. Now the consumers choose brands based on criteria that highlight the concept of purpose.
Modern leaders must create a new narrative that ‘touches’, inspires and serves the greater good of society and the environment. The power of purpose is enormous for both organizations and people. It is the powerful motive that engages mind and heart in a higher goal, based on interdependence and common destiny.
Advisor to the ACEO Board