The-two-p's-of-purpose

The two p’s of purpose

Paul

by Paul van Schie

The two P’s of purpose are Paul Polman.

It’s safe to say that Paul Polman is the most prominent promotor of purpose-driven business. Of course his name alone doesn’t form an exhaustive list ;). Most purpose enthusiasts will know most of today’s biggest role models in business that share purpose as their North Star, such as Feike Sijbesma, Rose Marcario, Larry Fink, Marc Benioff, and the signees of the statement on the purpose of a corporation.

But back to Polman, who has spent ten years of his life successfully transforming Unilever into a purpose driven company, and doesn’t let any opportunity go by to emphasise the importance of a long term multi stakeholder framework for business.

While doing so he is living his personal purpose, leveraging his skills, network and expertise to create change within his (relatively large) circle of influence. We agree with many of his views, and were once again inspired by him after watching this recent interview.

Polman is known for his talent in digesting large amounts of information. And man does he know how to make his audience work to keep up with him… His statements below are just a few of the many insights he addressed in a conversation of little over thirty minutes (statements slightly adjusted for readability purposes).

We’ve also included some opportunities for growth for those of you that are curious to learn more about how to live a purpose-driven life.

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Just a few of many insights from 30 minutes of Paul Polman

📹 Full interview here

On why we should be hopeful and optimistic about the future

“An optimist and a pessimist lead the same life. I prefer the life of the optimist. Pessimism doesn’t lead to anything but an abdication of responsibility. What we need is two things: optimism and hope, together with some degree of courage.”

On why it is crucial to collaborate to accelerate the purpose economy

With his new company Imagine, Polman is trying to bring together critical masses of CEOs.
“If you bring CEOs together across the value chain at the critical mass (20-25%) within a value chain, you can actually drive tipping points. CEOs become more courageous together, and if you reach this critical mass you can actually drive the systems changes that we need.”

On why companies need to move beyond the most popular ideas of impact management

“Some companies are looking at their handprint (increasing positive societal effects), some at their footprint (decreasing negative societal weekend), but you need to take a look at the blueprint, which is the whole holistic impact that a company has on society, including on the changes of consumer behaviour.”

On how Covid emphasises urgency of the purpose economy

“Covid is a good warning. You can’t have healthy people on an unhealthy planet. The fact that a lot of systems are breaking down is actually good news. We were playing not to lose. Covid has brought a broader awareness and sense of urgency. It also brought to the forefront social and racial inequality. Hopefully we’ll learn some lessons from that.”

On why you would want to live a purposeful life personally

“I feel like if you dedicate your life to investing in others, they will invest in you. This is why living by your purpose is actually very selfish… Because it makes us all feel good. Having a fulfilling life is very satisfying. The stronger your purpose is I think the easier it is to carry what some might see as a burden. I see it as a gift, a gift of being able to share and help others. If we can do that, I think we can all make our own contributions in making this a better world.”

The new Ikigai is out!

This week we got an email from our good friend Rebecca Tapp.

“I just wanted to touch base regarding a recent interview I did with Hector Garcia your audience might enjoy.” 

Hector Garcia is the co author of the bestselling book ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’, which was mentioned twice in the second edition of our ebook ‘Seven Purpose Stories by Power Women’.

“Hector and his co author have written part two of the Ikigai series . Also, I interviewed Hector about part two and it was a really amazing podcast.”

🎙️ Listen to the podcast here

📚 Link to the book here