It seems like “purpose” is everywhere at the moment; from executives to board members, everyone wants a piece of it. By putting purpose at the core of their organisations, businesses are reaping the rewards in their culture, their impact on the planet and their bottom line.
But how do you embed purpose authentically and truly harness its power? On a scorcher of an evening last Tuesday, we hosted our ninth Modern Day Wisdom event at x+why’s fabulously chic venue space in Whitechapel to find out.
Joining us for a chat on all things purpose were some pretty impressive and knowledgeable panellists including Ben Greensmith, UK Managing Director for fellow B Corp, Tony’s Chocolonely, Catherine Allen, Head of Keeping People Happy, Ella’s Kitchen (another B Corp!) and Rupert Dean, Co-Founder and CEO of x+why (soon to be B Corp too!).
Following an illuminating discussion jam-packed with the sort of practical, try-this-at-home tips that Modern Day Wisdom was created to provide, we also treated attendees to pizza and drinks from B Corp brewers, Toast Ale (did we mention we like working with other B Corps…).
If you did miss the event, we’ve summarised our top five, money-can’t-buy pearls of wisdom on embedding purpose from Ben, Catherine and Rupert here…
Five top tips on embedding purpose:
1 – Lead with your purpose. There’s a dizzying number of pressing issues in the world and it can be hard to know which ones to address, especially as you grow and people expect more of your business. By using your purpose as a decision-making tool, you can not only guide your business strategy but ensure that you’re always focused on the issues that relate closest to your purpose without going down rabbit holes.
2 – Engage your teams and bring your purpose to life. For the purpose to be lived by everyone in your organisation, it needs to resonate with them on a personal level. This can be easier to do with marketing teams, but make sure you’re also engaging teams that might sit further away from the day-to-day impact.
3 – Be transparent. Be honest with all your stakeholders, from employees to partners and customers. Recognising your failings and admitting your faults is actually more endearing than appearing whiter than white, because we know nobody is perfect and we’re all on a journey. In the behaviour change world, we call this the Pratfall Effect. Most importantly though, you need to offer a realistic solution as to how you’re going to do better.
4 – Measure it. How can you prove you’re making progress towards your purpose if you aren’t measuring your impact? The metrics will be different for every business, but the sentiment is the same. If you can prove the impact of the work you’re doing, your team will be proud to work for you and your customers will want to do more business with you.
5 – Be a purpose advocate. It’s great to be a purposeful business, but what can you do to influence your peers, supply chain and customers to become more purposeful too? Do your suppliers’ practices align with your purpose? Can you educate your customers on your purpose and why it matters? You have more power than you think – “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.” (Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop)
Feeling the FOMO? Make sure you’re signed up to Modern Day Wisdom #10: Is Hierarchy Dead? on 17 September at 6.30pm to find out how Vodafone, Openreach and Innogy are creating empowered, agile and self-managing teams. You can also join our GDPR-friendly mailing list to be the first in line for all our upcoming event news and updates.
If your curious about the venue, x+why is a tech-forward, wellness-focused, thought-provoking co-working environment for like-minded and responsible purpose-driven businesses. Located in Aldgate East/Whitechapel (London), their space helps nurture happy, healthy and inspired people who create more value for their businesses. Visit their website or pop into their office to book a tour.