Why become a Purpose-Led Business?



“Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving higher workforce and customer satisfaction.” (Deloitte, 2020)

It could not be more simply stated. In their work supporting companies of all sorts, Purpose+Motion have repeatedly found that purpose-led businesses are better for employees, customers, investors and their founders!

What is a Purpose-Led Business?

“The purpose of business is to solve the problems of people and planet profitably, and not profit from causing problems” (Professor Colin Mayer, Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford). A purpose-led business is a company which aims to solve the problems of people and planet, gearing its decisions, its activities, and its culture towards achieving this purpose.

Mike Romig, co-founder of Purpose+Motion explains: “Many of our clients struggle to identify their purpose, their why, when in many cases, they are already very purposeful without realising it. Becoming conscious of their purpose allows them to align their strategy and processes around this.”

P+M often work with clients on adopting 5 key qualities of a purposeful company developed by the Blueprint for Better Business: a business which delivers long-term sustainable performance; is honest and fair with its customers and suppliers; responsible and responsive as an employer; a good citizen; and a guardian for future generations.

However, shifting from traditional business to being Purpose-Led is rarely simple. Pablo Escorcia, co-founder of Purpose+Motion, highlights: “Although each company and team goes through their own unique process and have their own set of challenges (observed from working with dozens of companies and teams on this shift) we have identified the following 5 key challenges many face.”

What are the key challenges companies who aim to be led by purpose face?

“People don’t get the purpose I drafted for our business” How and by who the purpose is developed, how it is worded and how much it connects with employees’ personal purposes is one of the key factors of the success or failure of a Purpose-led business.

“My people are stuck in their old ways and don’t follow the purpose” Changing leader and employee habits and ways of thinking towards achieving goal other than profit can be particularly difficult when companies or teams have been working in a “traditional” way for years or even decades.

“We’ve all agreed on a great purpose, but we’re still building the same products and offering the same services” Defining strategies that focus on achieving a change in the world, not only market share growth or profit can be unsettling at first. Truly innovating new purposeful products and services, breaking the strategies into meaningful Objectives and Key Results, and not actually seeing changes at the operational level are often major obstacles for teams.

“We don’t know how to bring our purpose into recruiting, accounting or operations” Adapting the business’ processes, systems and structures to be coherent with the company’s purpose, down to the most “administrative” of processes and up to the board and ownership level often takes much longer than many stakeholders are comfortable with.

“We know the purpose but keep taking decisions based on financial factors instead” Feeling that there has to be a choice between purpose and profit often leads to old behaviours remaining. However, as Alex Edmans, Professor at the London School of Economics, writes it is all about Growing the Pie: “By investing in stakeholders, a company doesn’t reduce investors’ slice of the pie, as assumed by some CEOs – it grows the pie, ultimately benefiting investors.”

Based on these key challenges, Purpose+Motion have developed a 14-week online course for courageous business leaders to prototype bringing purpose into every corner of their company: culture, strategy, systems and structure, and of course, finances! The course will bring participants together with top experts in the field of purpose such as Robert EcclesBettina Rollow, Nash Billimoria, Nadja Taranczewski and Simon Berkler. Purpose+Motion will offer leadership coaching to each participant, and a space of peer learning exchange with others facing these challenges.

If this is exciting for you join the upcoming course on Purpose-Led Business before 1 Sept 2021.

Caption: In the company of a cohort of other Gamechangers, Mike Romig and Pablo Escorcia (the course facilitators) will accompany you as you identify and run a concrete prototype for this transformation towards being purpose-led.

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