corporate-purpose-mckinsey

Corporate purpose, not platitudes

Paul

by Paul van Schie

When we look back over the past years, we see how CSR and corporate purpose have matured from being a mostly defensive response to regulatory requirements, towards being a strategic pillar tied to the core business.

Purpose activation – two core challenges

Most large organisations have reconciled with the necessity of the latter, resulting in high ambitions and great intentions at the top. But growing the positive societal impact of a large organisations requires an internal transformation, resulting in the purpose gap. Business leaders embarking on a purpose journey face 2 main challenges.

  1. Transition happens slowly. Long-term top-down purpose ambitions fail in short-term profit driven business environments.
  2. The stakeholder economy is uncharted territory. With only a few purposeful pioneers, the road towards a purpose-led business has yet to be paved. In other words there is a knowledge gap in how to become purpose-led.

Three ongoing conversations to have

McKinsey wrote a fantastic article which states that, to harness the power of corporate purpose, CEOs and other senior executives must pressure-test that purpose with their teams, employees – and themselves. Their article describes how CEOs and other top executives can better live up to their special role in a purpose journey, not by going it alone or by making pronouncements but by enlisting the organization’s help to challenge the purpose, test it, and improve it so that everyone can shape it and own it together.

We firmly agree with their findings, which is why we’ve added their article to our extensive purpose article database.