Soulful Business – Prioritising People, Purpose & Planet

Did we ever think we’d see fuel get cheaper? Did we ever believe we’d be faced with the prospect of robots really getting a foothold and taking many of our jobs? Did we think we’d get to the place of a cashless society? All this and more are upon us and the pace of infiltration, let alone implementation, is rapid. Although I had my fingers crossed, I didn’t think I would ever see business models, leadership and ways of working changing at such speed. The change has been so quick, that those in leadership positions are struggling to catch up, unless of course you’re one of those who are leading the way. This is a change that’s not about new ways of doing old things – it’s about really big changes in approaches to the way business is done, the way people work, the way leaders become leaders and the way they lead. Says Frederic Laloux (Reinventing Organisations) “There are no job descriptions, no targets, hardly any budgets. In their place come many new and soulful practices that create extraordinarily productive and purposeful organisations.” The business model isn’t built around the marketing strategy, the style guide and the templates. It’s not built on leadership competencies and frameworks. It’s not built on policies and procedures, collective agreements and accreditations that need to be audited every other day by process-nerds. The business model is simple. It’s based on some contribution to making the world a better place. The heart of the business is built around ‘why the business exists’. Then comes the ‘how we are going to go about doing this?’...

Leading With a Social Conscience – Calm Down, We’ve Got This!

I was reading an article in the paper this week that had a group of Gen Y’s telling us that we’re way too worried about the future. Acknowledging that we’ve got a lot to do to shore up our future, they then went on to say, “Calm down, we’ve got this!” Reading this did give me a sense of calm in many ways, despite the fact that I don’t believe that they as a generation can do this without the help of their Gen Z counterparts or the support of like-minded Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. I’m not totally confident that Gen Y hasn’t contributed to our social and humanitarian concerns – after all, they are the “special” generation who like their gadgets and ‘nice things’. That aside, it’s largely within this generation where conscience leadership resides and it’s this cohort that’s bringing the like-mindeds along with them. Their influence in the social conscience space can’t be ignored. What does leading with a social conscience mean? Apart from the notion of purpose-driven leadership I’ve already blogged about, those with a social conscience are motivated toward something bigger than working their butts off to contribute to a company’s bottom line. Right now, leading with a social conscience comes from a strong desire to help those who are living in poverty and to help restore environmental disasters that could be only decades away. Those of us who tend to have an inner sense of what is right or wrong about the work we are doing, the people we work with and the motives of the business, are probably those who are struggling right now in workplaces all over the world....

Why Do We Need Purpose-Driven Leadership?

So far, I’ve journey-blogged from knowing the brain and working with the brain, to the importance of purpose to humankind and the positively powerful purpose-driven business invasion we are experiencing…and for very good reasons. In the meantime, I’m reading about the latest leadership competencies, the six steps to leadership excellence, the ten qualities that make a great leader, the nine impressive characteristics of successful leaders. At the same time (and this does not mean that I’m multi-tasking!), I stand witness to growing inequality, the effects of climate change and an uncertain future for the planet. I talk to people on a daily basis who are less than positive about their working environment, where it’s all going and why. Great that we’ve got the competencies, the models, the characteristics and the qualities of outstanding leadership, but how much are we seeing them played out to good effect? The truth is, we need better leadership. How would it be if Boardrooms could get in touch with social and environmental issues, know what their stakeholders really care about (instead of making assumptions), obliterate short-term thinking and make stronger contributions to the development of CEO’s and senior leadership teams? What if Boards and senior leaders were able to demonstrate purpose-driven leadership and make genuine, positive contributions to humanity and the planet? How can we continue to focus on how important we think we are, our status relative to others, the title we have and all that goes with it, relentlessly driving toward improving the bottom line…when there are people out there who don’t have access to clean drinking water and toilet facilities, and...

Why a Purpose-Driven Business Model is a Productivity-Driven Business Model

“Purpose creates an extraordinary degree of engagement for stakeholders and catalyses tremendous energy within the organisation. The culture can be felt.” (Conscious Capitalism) Well, thank goodness for that because I don’t think I ever ‘felt’ the culture in any of my corporate roles. The quest for meaning is in everyone’s DNA and peeps are on the move. The number of small businesses that are seeking out, listening to, and driving a new way of doing business is staggering, and that includes businesses in regional Australia. But then again, why would it be surprising that small business is driving this disruption when there are 2.1m small businesses in Australia, making up 96% of this nation’s businesses and employing 4.5m people? It’s the start-ups and turn-arounds that are doing things differently, and bigger business is starting to ‘jump on the bandwagon’. But beware the business that lays claim to purpose just by saying so. Businesses that make such claims because they give discounts to pensioners and not-for profits, or they give something away for free, or they make a donation to charity are not necessarily the real deal. A purpose-driven business has a clearly articulated purpose that is at the very core of their business, informing their direction and the strategies to get there. They exist in order to fulfil their purpose. These guys are authentic about what they do, choosing to remain lean, keeping expenses to a minimum and maximising revenue so they can give up to 100% of profit or X% gross revenue to social and/or environmental causes. They look after their people but they do not spend extravagantly....

#Business #Purpose #PositiveImpact

I’ve been banging on about corporate ‘bad behaviour’, useless visions, meaningless values and ‘I couldn’t care less’ corporate objectives for some time now. Sadly, the majority of organisations and businesses in Australia fail to focus on what’s of real value and fail to treat people like the unique human beings that we are. “People should not be afterthoughts or inputs to be used and discarded.” (Rosabeth Moss Kanter) We’re fatigued – we’re “on” for too long every day and we’re not deriving meaning from our work. Of course, there are those who ‘say’ they thrive on being busy (well, that’s bollocks!) and love grabbing that plate of last night’s left-overs out of the work fridge at 3.00pm, exclaiming loud enough for everyone to hear that this is the first time they’ve eaten today. They need help. It’s time for business to take some responsibility for the state of the global community and to start giving back, realising that not only will they contribute to something incredibly important but people will be doing far more focused and meaningful work. It’s been put forward for a long time now that the key objective of business is to make as much money as possible. Focusing on the maximisation of short-term profits has meant that all decisions are fiscally based and fiscally expressed. This is how we measure success. We value commodities that are of no value to the wellbeing of humanity (such as diamonds) but we don’t value water which is critical to our survival or any other environmental factor we depend on for our survival. And as for the relentless focus...

A Business Without a Purpose is a Business Without Purpose

There’s no doubt! The shift in focus towards work that has meaning beyond profit for nothing other than financial gain, is accelerating. And with it comes greater levels of productivity. For two days in December, I experienced a gathering of 200 people (we’re now a tribe) who came together for a purpose. Many doing ethically and socially great things, many who were curious, those who were trying to find their way and people who want to do things differently by making a positive social and environmental impact – to help restore the balance. You can’t help but come away from something like that feeling inspired, totally motivated and empowered to make a difference -#Purpose2015, Sydney. I have now mined, refined and defined my business purpose and provide 5% gross revenue to three Australian causes. I now help other business define their purpose – their contribution. Like many of you, I’ve come from a series of working environments where business has been about making a profit for no other reason than to make a profit. Making money is how success has been defined. It took me a while to realise that the visions, the values, the strategic objectives and the corporate social responsibilities have been nothing short of cursory glances at getting people to “believe” and ensuring regulatory obligations were fulfilled. And out of this have emerged really crappy managers and leaders focused on status and their own success (however they define it). Is this part of the corporate success story? Businesses that have modelled themselves on profit above all else have monumentally failed to capture the hearts and minds...