The way we were taught to do it…

How many of you who are passionate about Sustainable Business or the value of having a purpose led company have been told that to be successful you will need to prove the business case?

How many have then resorted to studies such as that of the Stengel 50 index or similar that consistently demonstrate the growth of the companies that have adapted these principles?


This is what we are taught to do as internal ambassadors. Financially motivated…sell them the P&L. Work in HR…dial up the Employee engagement/retention stats. Talking to the Comms teams…well it’s all about risk management.

However here’s the bad news,that was positioned to me so perfectly by Dr. Simon Longstaff of the St.James Ethic’s centre during a recent Marketing Academy mentoring session….

The reason that if you are successful, they wont be…

If you are successful in selling the benefits of adopting more ethical/value based business on any single one of these, then unfortunately the results will not be fully replicated.

Why? Well unfortunately when you think about it,  the business case and P&L may be the end result but the consistent, honest motive to have a positive impact on the lives of people and communities and then the extrapolation of that across how you define your vision, how you set your policies, how you treat suppliers and how you behave in good times and in bad is what truly drives success and mobilises an organisation.

By default then if someones sole motive for adopting a more purpose led business is monetary or driving their company up the “best for employees” list then people will see through this and they will inevitably will not be honest/consistent in their application of this new vision.

In fact instead of being an authentic “why” that inspires, it will merely sit on the surface of your leadership like a bad spin doctor for a politician until one day you revert to type. Just like the person who asks how you are but doesn’t really care and only does so to get something from you, people see through this and at the end of the day there are no such things as consumers, employees or suppliers, just people.

The way forward…

So what does this mean? Stop selling. No, definitely not –

1. Continue to prove and share the model and convince through demonstrated growth, market low attrition, market high engagement and an energy that flows beyond the office walls.

2. Go back to your roots and understand what your business, brand or even you mean to the people around you to understand if your purpose is congruent with their perception.

3.  Set the challenge not just look at purpose as a Marketing tool but instead a chance to shape and communicate the core values and “why” of your business or brand that will help demonstrate what you stand for and inspire others to join you.

For more on this topic look for @paulconnellbop or

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