Success with purpose

The road to success is paved with purpose

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by Anna Chojnacka

As a business leader you undoubtedly have clear visions of a successful future.

You know what you want. For your company, for your employees, for yourself. It’s why you’re in the business and the position you’re in.

Now take a moment and envision that future. What do you see?

You probably don’t see an office space, with your employees working for the weekend, looking forward to their monthly paychecks and nothing else. In fact, you probably don’t think of anything office-related at all. No, you’re thinking bigger than that. That’s because, in our current social climate, a successful business is more than the work it does.

Political stability, social equality, clean air, renewable energy sources — increasingly so, corporate leaders understand that to be successful, their businesses must play a role in creating a better world for everyone. These leaders understand that their respective businesses must have purpose.

At GoodUp, we view purpose as using your strength — your core business — to make a positive impact on the world.

Why, however, should you search for purpose when your focus is on keeping things up and running in the here-and-now?

That’s easy: purpose does not stand in the way of profit and short-term goals. It’s not an either-or scenario. On the contrary. When examined, evidence piles up, proving that purpose-driven organizations are thriving and outperforming the competition.

Purpose particularly supports businesses at three organizational levels:

Business leaders

“We want to [grow the company] in a way that is people-and-planet-positive,” said Ikea CEO Peter Agnefjäll in a recent study on purpose-driven leadership.

Agnefjäll, along with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and investment company Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, is one of many modern business leaders who understand that sustained success means actively contributing to a sustainable future. As such, they’re heavily invested in the idea of “purpose”.

And if just intrinsic motivation that makes you want to better the world, let the numbers do the talking. Truly purpose-led businesses see increased stakeholder value and a competitive edge toward employees and customers. Unilever Sustainable Living brands, for example, grew 50% faster than the rest of the business, and were responsible for more than 60% of Unilever’s growth in 2016.

Business leaders know this and act upon it. They transform their organization, and by doing so turn purpose into action.

Human resources

A Gallup study states that “71% of millennials who strongly agree that they know what their organization stands for and what makes it different from its competitors say they plan to stay with their company for at least one year.” When millenials disagree, that number plummets to 31%. That’s an expensive fall.

HR, therefore, is in a perfect position to empower employees to pursue purpose — both on a personal and an organizational level. Doing so helps your business attract and retain talent, boost sustainable employability, and reduce the cost of disengagement.

We no longer have to convince HR that companies with higher numbers of engaged employees report extraordinarily better performance when compared to the competition. We might, however, need to push the idea that to be engaged, millennials must have purpose.

CSR and Corporate Foundations

Thanks to a new generation of buyers and workers, the need for purpose on the agenda of top-level management is rising. One result of this is that the role of CSR in corporations is shifting, from a potentially costly endeavour to an integral part of daily business.  

Engaging employees via purpose multiplies your positive impact and brings improved sustainability to your business, a secured license to operate; and a visualized impact of your purpose and CSR strategy.

CSR is the department to look at when transforming purpose into action, and is more than likely to become an influential force in the coming years, which means it is truly the exciting place to be working!

How to find your purpose

Working in any of these departments means that you have the chance to contribute toward a positive, purpose-driven shift in the corporate landscape

A starting point for this change is the application of a “less bad, more good” approach to running your business. After all, working on your purpose starts with a clear understanding of its goals.

The biggest challenge you will find, though, is transforming purpose into action. Luckily, that’s exactly the gap that GoodUp fills. Curious? Give us a call!