Are you ready to compete in the Purpose Economy?
It is no secret that competing and winning in today’s competitive marketplace requires a strategy that includes sustainability. For over a decade, leading organizations such as Unilever, Patagonia, Nestle, GE, Virgin and others have substantially increased revenues, cut costs, mitigated risk and generally improved organizational performance by embedding sustainability into their holistic business strategy.
While most organizations today understand the power of Sustainability to drive performance, many do not have the time, resources or expertise to successfully integrate Sustainability into their business strategy. The result is a failure to fully realize the benefits that come from a focus on Sustainability.
A Single Strategy
Typically what happens is that organizations eventually come to understand the power of Sustainability to drive organizational performance and recognize the need to formalize their approach in order to maximize results. What usually follows is the development of a Sustainability Strategy – seems logical right? Well, here-in lays the problem. This approach results in the organization now having 2 strategies. One strategy for the business and one for Sustainability – 2 separate and siloed strategies that often end up competing with each other.
There are many reasons why this takes place but one of the root causes to this misguided approach is the lack of a Strategic Planning System that supports the integration of Sustainability into the overall business strategy. While larger organizations may have the time, resources and expertise to figure it out, many organizations do not. Furthermore, traditional strategic planning models such as the Rockefeller Habits, Balanced Scorecard and so on were developed prior to Sustainability becoming mainstream and thus do not successfully address the integration of Sustainability into the business strategy.
The kicker is the rules for succeeding – for creating strategic advantage are fundamentally changing and evolving beyond a strategy that includes sustainability. Extensive research has proven that the traditional shareholder-biased business model, where profit is the purpose and pursued at all cost, is an inferior generator of value – even with a focus on Sustainability.
A Stakeholder Approach
On the contrary, a new stakeholder-based business model where greater profit is earned as a natural bi-product of sustainably fulfilling a greater purpose – that benefits all stakeholders – is the most effective way to maximize performance and manage growth over the long term.
According to extensive research from the consulting magnate Deloitte, when CEO’s and other business leaders convey a strong sense of purpose behind their strategy, they help propel the organization toward multiple, positive revenue-influencing, cost reducing outcomes. Businesses which rank high on purpose-based qualities are better positioned for brand strength and customer loyalty, revenue growth and agility amid disruptive market changes. Their employees are more engaged, more likely to buy into corporate strategies and place greater trust in the capabilities of their leadership team. Shareholders also express increased confidence in the organizations’ ability to meet performance and earnings targets.
Let Purpose Lead the Way
Leading organizations are proving this thinking. Companies such as Patagonia who’s purpose is to “Produce quality apparel that inspires environmental solutions” or Walt Disney who has a simple purpose to “Make people happy” or Google’s purpose to “Organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful” are showing that organizations with a purpose that positively benefits all stakeholders is a superior generator of value and ultimately – profit.
The rub is that this evolution for creating a winning strategy poses yet another challenge for many organizations: How to integrate sustainability into the business strategy and align that strategy to a meaningful purpose beyond profit maximization.
Fortunately, a solution to this challenge is now available. Based on best practices of leading organizations, business leaders and traditional strategy models, comes a new but proven strategic planning system that effectively embeds sustainability into the strategic plan and aligns it to a greater purpose. From defining organizational purpose and integrating sustainability to establishing KPI’s through tactical execution, the system provides a step-by-step approach for building and executing a winning strategy.
The strategic planning system is presented in a new book: “Purposely Profitable”. By following the process detailed throughout this book, organizations will have a strategy that is sustainable, where there is purpose to making a profit and profit is realized on purpose – the organization will be Purposely Profitable.
Brett Wills is the Founder and President of the Green Enterprise Movement and the Director of Sustainability at High Performance Solutions Inc. He regularly speaks on the business opportunity of Sustainability and has just released his latest book, “Purposely Profitable”. You can follow Brett on twitter at @