Investing in Purpose

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by Jesmond Saliba

Countries around the world seem to have reached an unspoken consensus to move on from the coronavirus. Calls for caution by health authorities notwithstanding, governments have decided that humanity does not live by breath alone and even regions where infections are still on the rise like South America and the Indian subcontinent, countries are pushing forward with economic restarts.

For most of the time during the first half of this year, leaders across all spheres have called for new and better ways of doing things: for improved sustainability in our operations, for a rebalancing of work and life, for more meaningful engagement with communities. In other words, to inject purpose into our activities.

For businesses, in particular, discovering purpose beyond the bottom line promises to be a Copernican Revolution. It is an opportunity for companies to attach themselves more intimately to the social cycle and assert their presence as a valid and willing actor in public life.

Purpose in enterprise is not simple philanthropy or a benevolent pay-back to a customer base. It involves a wholehearted commitment to a strategic cause that advances the interests of the company and the community it champions. By openly pursuing a social target – they may range from human rights to arts movements and from environmental protection to sport activities – organisations can understand better the very nature of their business. This, in turn, will help them identify the needs and the gaps and steer their innovation agenda to provide higher value and generate renewable business possibilities.

Purpose helps to embed a company into its social context for the long haul in a way that feel-good advertising campaigns are unable to produce.

Establishing a purpose and actively investing in it is an, admittedly, difficult process. It means letting go of company-wide habits and practices that do not serve the aspiration. It may lead to discontent and uncertainty among employees, but with foresight and the right internal and external backing, purpose slowly redefines a business model and mobilises the workforce as well as customers towards a more profitable horizon.

The recovery phase is the moment for leaders to put their money where their mouth is and demonstrate that the business community has a significant part to play in social wellbeing. Purpose invites companies to stick with a mission, rather than a way of doing things, affording them the flexibility to adapt their business to a new world of opportunity.

This article appeared firs on CorporateDispatchPRO