Introduction

Society Has New Expectations of Business

Rejecting our Industrial Revolution legacy

Companies as hatched by the Industrial Revolution are dying.

To create shareholder value by satisfying immediate customer needs (which worked for over 200 years) is no longer a competitive strategy. The First World is making new and tough demands of business.

Commerce is expected to adopt a wider role in the development of society. Alongside wealth creation, business will have to do more for people. Gradual regulatory and legal changes are institutionalising these calls for wider accountability.

The risks of falling behind are immense. Boards and executives are under pressure to stay ahead of these demands.

Purpose-led companies will thrive

To prosper, companies have to go beyond what we call the ‘immediate product and profit motive’ of the Industrial Revolution.

Leadership teams have to grasp the wider demands of both customers and shareholders. More also has to be done for employees. And, in a democratic world where everyone can influence a company’s fortunes, leaders cannot ignore the society or community in which they operate.

Companies must make it their business, or purpose, to bring value to each of these groups. They are the beneficiaries of any enterprise, and also the ‘four investors’ in its future.

A relevant purpose makes for better business, easier work and sustainable outcomes. It also affords insurance (for companies and executives) against the scandals that burst out from news headlines and social media.

Rejecting our Industrial Revolution legacy

Companies as hatched by the Industrial Revolution are dying.

To create shareholder value by satisfying immediate customer needs (which worked for over 200 years) is no longer a competitive strategy. The First World is making new and tough demands of business.

Commerce is expected to adopt a wider role in the development of society. Alongside wealth creation, business will have to do more for people. Gradual regulatory and legal changes are institutionalising these calls for wider accountability.

The risks of falling behind are immense. Boards and executives are under pressure to stay ahead of these demands.

Purpose-led companies will thrive

To prosper, companies have to go beyond what we call the ‘immediate product and profit motive’ of the Industrial Revolution.

Leadership teams have to grasp the wider demands of both customers and shareholders. More also has to be done for employees. And, in a democratic world where everyone can influence a company’s fortunes, leaders cannot ignore the society or community in which they operate.

Companies must make it their business, or purpose, to bring value to each of these groups. They are the beneficiaries of any enterprise, and also the ‘four investors’ in its future.

A relevant purpose makes for better business, easier work and sustainable outcomes. It also affords insurance (for companies and executives) against the scandals that burst out from news headlines and social media.

Purpose Gives Meaning to, and Helps Align, Day-to-Day Work

Leadership

A robust purpose inspires people and opens the way for confident leadership to bring direction, involve everyone and create chances for growth.

Systems

Aligned with a shared purpose, processes, systems and data make work easier and enable people to do what the business demands.

People

People who strive for a purpose enjoy work and more easily commit to the mission, trust and engagement become the norm.

Resources

How time and money are spent is unified around a shared purpose, so resources align closely with real needs, enhancing efficiency.

Leadership

A robust purpose inspires people and opens the way for confident leadership to bring direction, involve everyone and create chances for growth.

Systems

Aligned with a shared purpose, processes, systems and data make work easier and enable people to do what the business demands.

People

People who strive for a purpose enjoy work and more easily commit to the mission, trust and engagement become the norm.

Resources

How time and money are spent is unified around a shared purpose, so resources align closely with real needs, enhancing efficiency.

Benefits for the Four Investors in Your Business

Your Customers

Purpose affords clarity of execution, aligned organisations respond better to new customer demands and can harness technology advances.

Your Employees

Your people become energised and discover a workplace where their efforts more easily translate into results – engagement and satisfaction rise.

Your Shareholders

When work is aligned with purpose, inefficiencies are revealed, costs fall and outputs improve – financial returns are higher and more secure.

Your Society

Social and business needs are integrated within the purpose so do not compete (as with CSR), alignment helps firms to become more effective and stable, for greater impact.

Your Customers

Purpose affords clarity of execution, aligned organisations respond better to new customer demands and can harness technology advances.

Your Employees

Your people become energised and discover a workplace where their efforts more easily translate into results – engagement and satisfaction rise.

Your Shareholders

When work is aligned with purpose, inefficiencies are revealed, costs fall and outputs improve – financial returns are higher and more secure.

Your Society

Social and business needs are integrated within the purpose so do not compete (as with CSR), alignment helps firms to become more effective and stable, for greater impact.

Let's break down the challenge

Our work equips organisations to align leadership, people, resources and systems with business purpose. Read on to see how we might help you create a more effective workplace – in manageable steps.