“I see a world where business is lead on purpose…” – Prophet for Purpose
Now and into the future, businesses without a clear sense of PURPOSE will struggle to survive. Organisations that seek to become a best-practice, socially responsible businesses will succeed and thrive, where organisations who place their key focus on profitability will not. The talk of intangibles is over, now Corporate Social Responsibility is the price of entry, not the end game. There will be no discernible difference difference between profit & non-profit organisations. Operational consideration of the whole picture, including externalities will be the ultimate differentiator, and Purpose-driven leadership is the key factor to organisational success.
It has already begun. A new world of business has emerged where the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has replaced the traditional certainties of yesteryear with volatility, and security with liability. The only thing that now remains constant, is change. Entrepreneurs, businesses and organisational leaders alike are seeking to adapt to this new world of perpetual change and the challenges it brings. Now, and into the future, PURPOSE is the driving force which compels a person to start a business, excel in their profession or pursue entrepreneurial opportunity. They want to make a direct impact on the lives of others, and the world (or their part of it). Existing businesses must find their purpose beyond making money or face extinction as conscientious consumers place economic value in ethical and honest brands with distinction. The cost war has become a race to oblivion. Employees are similar and desire something to believe in, meaning and pride in their work. They long for someone to believe in and for someone to believe in them. The new era of business requires businesses to do good first, then make money. This is the new world order…and I love it!
We have well moved on from the industrial age where we built things and manufactured everything in a tangible sense. We used our hands to build things, which build things. It was the era of immense physical work, the “hands generation”. Our hands did the work. This was the birth of the baby boomer generation and many workaholics.
We are now travelling through the technology age at the speed of light, where we have imagined the unimaginable with intelligence and creativity ruling the way work is done. We have thought of ways to automate the things we built in the industrial age. We have used our brains to develop technology to do a lot of the work for us and to even entertain us. It has seen the birth of thought leaders, consultants, coaches and with it everything technology. This is what I refer to as the “head generation”. Here we saw the birth of the GenX and GenY’s using less of their hands in laborious type work and instead shifting to using their brains to intellectual work and automation. It also was a period of time where we saw tremendous greed and corporate corruption reach epic proportions and corporate values seem merely like hollow marketing placards. It was a time of economic downfall creating the financial apocalypse, the global financial crisis.
Post the GFC, there is a new age emerging rapidly, it is the PURPOSE age. We still may use our hands, we may still use our heads, but hearts are now leading the way with purpose being the driving force for people and business. It is the age where we are all searching for meaning. It is the age of the “heart generation”. It is the birth of the Millennials and a time that will mark the Baby Boomers legacy. It is a time where the new generation is searching for meaning in their work while the older generation is now seeking meaning in their life (legacy). People are looking for something to believe in, someone to believe in and someone to believe in them more now than ever.
It is a time where we will see less of a distinction between a non-profit and profit organisation with purposeful impact being an ultimate differentiator. It is a time where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the price of entry and will be an expectation of consumers and the market, not a competitive advantage. Companies will actually strive for a distinctive advantage, this will become the new competitive advantage.
We are already seeing the rise of the entrepreneur worldwide and with that new businesses today is being born from purpose. On the other hand, existing businesses begin to search through their archives for their purpose to move from shareholder focus to stakeholder focus. The time is now upon us to make a difference in the lives of others and make a difference in this world…for the better.
We have seen the change in generations from the Baby Boomers to the GenX/GenY and now the Millennials. We have gone from the industrial “hands” age to the technology “head” age and now into the purpose “heart” age. We have seen a shift from the Baby Boomers working to provide a better life, to the GenX and GenY’s wanting greater work/life balance and now the Millennials in search of work/life integration.
Each generation has grown from the others, learnt from the others and struggles to understand the others. One thing that remains constant now is the search for meaning. While there is a different motive at opposing ends of the spectrum of meaning, we are all searching for it and that is purpose.
Businesses can survive on transactional interactions with consumers, but those that focus on building long-term sustainable relationships with consumers will be the ones to thrive. The ones that build loyalty beyond branding will flourish in this new global economy where your potential customer base could be up to 7 billion or so. Consumers are also demanding higher ethical standards from business and they are demonstrating that with their feet. They will walk away in droves at the first sign or hint of unethical practices, they have had enough of that bullshit! So building consumer confidence to create sustainable relationships is critical to surviving. This need to rebuild consumer trust post the GFC as it is the key to relationships. Without trust there is no relationship.
Driving a business with purpose is the answer. Purpose requires a business to be honest about who it is, what it stands for, why it exists and what it does best…not just with words, but in actions. Purpose requires honesty.
The more a business demonstrates honesty, the more the consumer can start to trust the business. When a business is honest about itself and can consistently stay true to what drives it, this will establish credibility, reliability and likability. Honesty builds trust.
When people trust you and like you (WHY, HOW and WHAT you do) they will buy from you, they will do business with you and they will want to work with you. Trust is the key to relationships.
Once you have developed a relationship people will fall further in love with your organisation and drive loyalty beyond reason. It creates that emotional connection with your business that words can’t describe, it’s just a feeling. They will feel a sense of ownership of your cause, calling or movement. Relationship creates loyalty beyond reason.
Purpose is good business.
Purpose is good for business.
If you become the prophet of your purpose, you will profit from your purpose.
Dave Clare, Prophet for Purpose.