As I have previously written, organizations need to develop new ways of adapting to prosper in our complex, volatile and hyper-connected world. (See my August 27, 2017 article Surviving or Thriving? Prospering Through Purpose.) They need to foster greater corporate consciousness based on a deep understanding of their core personal and professional values. This is the essential first step towards defining their purpose, which in turn will guide the refinement of their corporate culture. This process will greatly improve their prospects of thriving over the long term.
Leaders of such organizations are purposeful. They assess risks beyond the narrow imperative of robust quarterly earnings. Profits, of course, are of the utmost importance for the success of their businesses; however, profits alone cannot be their sole goal. It is crucial how money is made. The novelist, D. G. Roberts said it well: “If we can’t respect the way we earn it, money has no value. If we can’t use it to make life better for our families and loved ones, money has no purpose.” (Shantaram, 2004) Purposeful leaders realize that business is about creating meaningful, lasting worth for their stakeholders: shareholders, team members, vendors, customers, and society which can – in turn – lead to a vibrant and harmonious circle of consciousness, purpose and prosperity.
Corporate stakeholders complement each other. This leads to the creation of even greater value. Indeed, research indicates that there is a positive correlation between this type of corporate culture and long term profitability. Respected companies such as Google, Costco, Tata, Royal Bank of Canada, Unilever and Ecolab have all shown that this way of doing business leads to multifaceted success over time, including higher profits.
For some of these companies, consciousness manifests itself as social responsibility (Toms and Starbucks). For others, it is excellence (Berkshire Hathaway), and for still others it is innovation and discovery (Apple, Netflix and Virgin). They align their vision, mission, strategies and goals with their overarching values, and they execute corporate plans accordingly.
Embracing corporate consciousness and purposeful leadership is a choice that principled leaders make to achieve something greater than themselves and the companies they lead. Purpose inspires leaders to believe that their vision of the future is worthwhile and attainable. And, it inspires others to reach for their dreams too. It calls for great vision, authenticity, courage and resolve. Conscious and purposeful leaders look beyond short term self-interest and they let go of old management paradigms. Supported by like-minded management teams, they inspire their stakeholders by example to build a more coherent and prosperous enterprise. These leaders are ethical corporate stewards focused on building a meaningful, sustainable future both within and beyond their organizations. By fashioning a vibrant circle of sustainable value creation among all of their stakeholders, purposeful CEOs create the extraordinary. (See my September 6, 2016, article CEOs and Stakeholders’ Value Creation.)
At the Bonar Institute, we are committed to help our clients foster corporate consciousness and define their purpose. We work with them to optimize their performance by championing a reality greater than themselves and the companies they lead.