A lot of businesses are thriving in spite of the major challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. The common thread among companies that are weathering the storm most successfully is an authentic and integrated commitment to purpose larger than profitability or growth.
BUT BEWARE OF PURPOSE WASHING
“Purpose today is a buzzword. Only a few companies are able to have their purpose truly permeate internal rituals and processes, management, innovation, and the actual customer experience. Purpose is difficult to get right, and easy to get wrong. As more companies pursue purpose, not all will do so authentically. The biggest mistake? Rushing the process.“Whatever you do, make purpose a long-term commitment,” says Marcus Peterzell, CEO and founder of the Passion Point Collective. “It’s not good for the brand to do a one-off. Do something long-term that creates value for everyone.”
How exactly are these purpose-driven companies outperforming their peers in this difficult time? Four themes emerged that might entice other leaders to do the work of connecting to purpose as the way to survive this pandemic, not a nice to have if and when they do survive.
Fast and Effective Innovation
“When you put constraints around a situation creativity actually goes up because you’re trying to innovate within a limited space,” says Joey Bergstein, CEO of Seventh Generation, a certified B Corp that makes nontoxic and low waste personal and home cleaning products. As demand for Seventh Generation’s products multiplied this spring, they shifted their R&D team’s focus from new product development to qualifying new materials that could keep our standards while providing continuous supply at triple and even quadruple normal production levels. The team’s commitment to “providing home and personal care products that are better for you, your family, and the world around you” made this transition seamless.
Attracting best Talent in a time of the War for Talent!!!
The younger generations are looking for meaningful work. It is important to attract the right talent. Making our environments more flexible, meaningful, and impactful attracts the best talent. Period. Most people think its financial rewards that attract people, but not always the case. Think about it!
Flattened Hierarchy and Flexible Roles
Removing the barriers to decision making process by flattening the company’s hierarchy creates a workplace with ownership and contribution by all. Higher level of transparency and participation are gained and you have everyone participate and they do not need to be in a leadership position or title. Have a lot of people leading who would’ve never had the opportunity prior, and give people a chance to grow. Having a clarion call to serve a higher purpose can be the clarifying and motivating force that replaces formal hierarchy or performance targets.
Pressure To Do The Right Thing
In the anxiety-producing environment of a global pandemic, “People are more and more conscious of the things they buy and the companies behind them. They’re looking at what companies do through this crisis and they’ll support the companies that do the right thing,” Bergstein explained. He hopes that we’ll emerge from this crisis to a more sustainable future because of the light it has shed on the fragility of our very survival as humans and a collective species on this planet.
Making Work Human Again
The human-ness of the risks related to Covid-19, threatening our very survival, has changed our perception of work that is more human, from healthcare to meal and package delivery. The illusion of workers as high-performing machines without the needs or nuance of living creatures has been shattered, as we hold kids and dogs on laps, risk the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones, and pay more attention than ever to procuring basic goods. This has forced a much-needed re-examination of working conditions for people in all roles and industries.
Leading organisations have a midday embargo on meetings so that parents have a midday break to make lunch, check in on home schooling progress or take care of other family commitments. They are encouraging employees to include kids and pets in meetings, and holding virtual exercise workouts, and happy hours (with and without alcohol) to keep employees connected.
So as you can see -Purpose Matters!!!