Talent & Purpose driving exceptional business performance

For the past year, we have been working to help organizations define and communicate what is commonly referred to as their “Brand Purpose” - the higher order of why they exist, beyond making money and maximizing shareholder value (which remains ever important). It is been encouraging to see so many companies, such as Nike, Blackrock, Patagonia, Unilever and Salesforce, among so many others, focus on what they stand for, and the positive impact that they can and must meet in addressing key social and environmental issues.

As Darryl White, CEO of BMO recently wrote, “I believe our bank exists to convene, to catalyze, and to empower change that sustains growth for good. Part of “growth for good” means promoting growth that is sustainable, inclusive and broad-based”. You can read Darryl’s full article HERE. Nike, in their recent Colin Kapernick commercial, also put their money where their mouth is ….

Recently, we have engaged with executive leaders in discussing one central question that appears front and centre. That question is : “Why, if we are committed to Purpose, are so few of our customers or employees talking about it?” In trying to understand and answer that question, we have come to understand two themes that often impact companies in their desire to move the needle on performance.

The first theme focuses on HOW companies communicate their Purpose, both externally and internally. While Annual and Corporate Social Responsibility Reports may have their value for corporate reasons, they do not represent compelling ways of telling their story to the majority of key stakeholders. Instead, we look at examples such as HP and their short-form video “Paro” that creates a powerful emotional connection relating to their support for International Women ‘s Day - check out this brilliant example of story-telling here : PARO - Follow your Dreams! Or Nike’s brilliant and truly impactful message above!

Purpose without creative story-telling as a core element will never achieve its full potential as a key business driver.

So we focus our interest and work as Executive Producers to create television, film and social projects that work at the intersection of content, commerce and Purpose such as “Good Is The New Cool”

The second theme relates to Talent & Culture within organizations. When we talk about organizational purpose, often the conversation revolves around Brand, and how Marketing infuses Purpose as part of their Brand Strategy. There is, no doubt, great value in this.

However, less attention is often placed on how companies create a Purpose driven culture.

As Dominic Barton, ex head of global consulting firm McKinsey, writes in his new book called “Talent Wins”; “All the reorganizing in the world won’t unleash the talent inside your company if employees don’t believe in the company mission, All to often, employees that seen that purpose-driven efforts launched from high in the organization amount to little more than flag waving, The challenge for you is to convey and live something meaningful …”

Barton goes to confirm that today only 30 percent of employees feel a strong connection to their company and nearly 20 percent of all employees are actively disengaged. These realities become amplified when looking at Millennial and Gen Z employees or customers. As Satya Nadella. CEO of Microsoft writes “Millennials will soon account for over half of all workers. They want to be not only more creative, productive and collaborative then ever before, but they also seek a greater sense of Purpose and a deeper connection to their company’s mission”.

Accordingly, we believe that recruiting and developing Purpose led leaders is a critical element in helping organizations thrive over the long-term. While Strategy & Finance play important roles, focused and effective Talent Strategy turns Good companies into Great ones.

Want to unleash the full potential of Purpose in your organization to drive exceptional results? Start with creating an environment of Purpose led leadership and culture backed by creative and engaging story-telling that truly connects with employees and customers alike.

Mark Rubinstein