Start with Your Stakeholders
For companies across the globe, leadership means something different today than it did yesterday. Last year, nearly 200 top CEOs banded together to reimagine the term. They declared that the company’s role within society has been forever changed. The corporate leader’s focus has shifted from shareholder value to stakeholder value. The goal is no longer to maximize profits at all costs. Each company must serve its own higher purpose to connect with customers, employees, and investors alike.
The question remains— what does this major ideological shift mean for you, your brand, and your culture?
Embrace the change.
As Purpose Activator Brandon Peele points out on the Drive Profit with Purpose podcast— you don’t have to lead the change because the world has already changed. You do have to embrace it. Before you speak, listen to the world around you. Invest in tools such as NPS, social listening, and expert panels to be attuned to the voices of your stakeholders, because that is the function of marketing and the only way to thrive. When you build a “listening culture,” one that truly and intently listens to the people that matter most— your customers, employees, and investors— the decisions will become clear.
The shift in thought revolutionizes internal and external communications alike. When you declare a clear purpose, you create a framework for decentralized decision making. Clarity builds trust, which streamlines processes and minimizes wasted energy. Once employees have a full understanding of an organization’s decision-making criteria, they have the authority to act swiftly with confidence.
Pick purposeful over popular.
The most purposeful decision may not be the most popular, but more often than not, it is ultimately the most profitable. When a company’s actions align with its shared values, it showcases transparency, authenticity, and consistency to stakeholders. When a brand infuses its messages with its experiences— employees, consumers, and investors will rally around it.
Measure to empower.
The new paradigm enables leaders and employees to gain more than profit and power alone. When you serve a greater cause, you gain a greater sense of self-worth. Fulfillment drives satisfaction for leaders as well as stakeholders. So, embed your vision into your organizational meetings to ensure your employees align with it. Emphasize the challenges stakeholders face and uncover purposeful ways to solve them. Create and explore ways to measure your purpose performance to ensure you fulfill your vision.
Transformation is not a one-time thing.
It takes retrospection as well as introspection to serve your stakeholders and achieve your goals successfully. Once a brand knows its purpose, it must determine the most effective way to frame and share it. Focus on the questions rather than the answers. Resist the allure of confirmation bias and search for the truly vital insights. Foster a culture of continuous learning through constant experimentation. Evaluate impactful key purpose indicators as well as key performance indicators, such as engagement, rate, time spent, conversion rate, and yield. Then, adjust and continue to change as things change. Your purpose remains constant, but the ways and places that you communicate it will always be developing.
There are three misconceptions about purpose that lead well-meaning companies down the wrong path. The first is that your purpose is a one time thing— something to be checked off. Nothing could be further from the truth. Purpose and the way your company aligns with its stakeholders is forever growing. When you stop listening and learning, you stop being purposeful. The second misconception is that your purpose is something limited to high-level discussions and the “big decisions.” If your purpose is not filtering through your entire organization, team members will not be empowered to make the right, aligned, and autonomous decisions, and your business will stall. You might not be doing it yet, but it can be done when you listen to your stakeholders and put metrics in place that genuinely determine that your purpose is driving your profit.