Action 1: Make your purpose and values your north star.
We call this signalling. What opportunities are there to build consideration of your purpose into your everyday decisions. The signal will depend on the level of maturity of the organisation. Here are some examples from our clients across a spectrum of maturity:
Putting the statement on the top of all strategy frameworks
Have a check in the budget approval process for alignment to purpose
Have a check in the capital approval process for alignment to purpose
Partnership / New market generation of shared value (where environmental and /or social value is delivered using a profit making business model)
Alignment of government / social values in operating geographies
Employee performance and remuneration structure and timeframes
A plan can be built for each of these. A review conducted at regular intervals to continually refresh the signals.
Question: What signals could be implemented to remind your people of the north star you’re all working towards?
Action 2: Eliminate practices that do not align clearly with your stated commitments.
Action 3: Pursue a new and inspiring goal related to your purpose and principles.
- The goal has to be new. Or it is difficult for people to associate it with a shift.
- It should impact the whole business
- Emissions reduction targets
- Inclusion and diversity targets
- Circular supply chain
- Active product divestment away from industrial revolution commodities toward ‘future commodities’
- Redistribution of wealth within supply chains
- Meeting frequency, intention and structure
- Language use to refer to employees at all levels (examples include colleagues, associates, contributors)
Action 4: Provide your leaders the skills you need them to have to transition your business.
The types of change we have discussed are no small investment for a business. Leaders are asking their people to work towards something that does not have a clearly defined roadmap. Purpose is strategic.
However those who do most of the work implementing the three actions above are those leaders 2-3 layers down the organisation from the CEO. These individuals are rarely asked to be strategic in their everyday. One of our clients recently stated ‘we have saved our business more than once because we are exceptional at executing in a command and control manner’. Great if you are fighting a fire, or addressing a global pandemic. Not so great if your trying to engage the hearts of your employees and customers.
You must build the muscle of these leaders in ‘Asking’. This muscle must be used in both the facilitation of conversations and in the design of initiatives, in particular the design of the signpost from action #3 above.
Asking requires us as individuals to have courage, to display vulnerability and to be prepared to be surprised by the answers. It is why so much of our work is founded on coaching principles; building the capacity of the individual.
Question: What skills and support might your leaders need to set them up as successful in engaging and executing a plan which is emerging?
Read; 10 mins