The power of purpose

The businesses that will succeed in tomorrow’s world will be those that have an invigorating and challenging sense of purpose beyond commercial success. They seek to attract, retain and build people who feel they are changing the fabric of the society they serve. In this article Oliver outlines the drive that individuals and businesses will need to progress in their goals.

Published 22nd March 2017

 

By Oliver Hall, Just Add Water

 

Our working life is a big part of who we really are and as such should be a rewarding experience; one that over time should be fulfilling and leave us with a sense of having achieved something personally meaningful. In the words of Robert F. Kennedy:

 

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”

 

When this isn’t the case, it’s often because:
a) we haven’t worked out how to be who we really are, or feel we’re not allowed, or
b) the organisation we work for is somehow preventing that from happening, or
c) a combination of the two.

 

Whatever the reason, the outcome is always the same - opportunity lost for the individual, the organisation, the customer and ultimately society as a whole.

 

The world we live in, the economic drivers that shape it, and our expectations as human beings, are changing dramatically. Organisations are now largely driven by digitally enabled narratives and stories that management has only limited influence over. Once formal and predominantly broadcast from the top down, conversations within organisations are now increasingly informal, often giving voice to insightful opinion formers who can no longer be ignored due to their lack of seniority, tenure or even direct connection to the firm. The world’s biggest brands are shifting spend from traditional market research to social listening capabilities – not to deal with a threat, but rather to harness something new and valuable. These groundswell narratives are emotional in their nature and centred on the search for meaning and authenticity, by employees and consumers alike. They are also largely uncontrollable and hugely influential within the engine of change. Innovation, still the driving force behind growth and performance, now expects this freedom of expression, demanding the embrace of diversity and inexperience to flourish.

 

Faced with this changing landscape, how are businesses reacting?

 

Many organisations will stick with the familiar practices of yesterday. This is despite increasingly ineffective attempts to transform themselves, their cultures, systems, structures and processes. Temporary shelter from the storm is sought in strategy and budget rewrites, re-organisations, process and system redesigns. This often triggers the use of increasingly complex data models, measurement protocols, and cultural change programmes that tell people how to behave. Real change starts to happen when people are confronted with themselves, by way of fundamental questions around who they are today and what they need to become to thrive and inspire the organisation to the next level.

 

The businesses that will succeed in tomorrow’s world will be those that have an invigorating and challenging sense of purpose beyond commercial success. They seek to attract, retain and build people who feel they are changing the fabric of the society they serve. Run by courageous leaders, who embody the mindsets and behaviours that collectively shape such a culture, these increasingly dynamic and agile organisations will move away from traditional, hierarchical command and control structures. They will embrace collaborative and responsive coalitions of the willing, pushing accountability and decision making to the edges, and see intelligent risk taking and associated failures as part of growth.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Oliver Hall is responsible for developing and growing the Just Add Water business across Asia Pacific. He comes from a background of brand experience having worked on both sides of the field - on one side as the agency/ brand partner where he activated experiential brand campaigns, and on the other side where he developed and executed brand strategy.

 

His ability to connect best practice from business teams and the highly competitive world of sport led him to the unique world of Formula One where he helped brands to find the best rights holder to execute engaging brand activity. Oliver believes that people and businesses with a clear purpose and strong values are happier, more productive and more successful. He is passionate about the importance of diversity in the workplace believing that the most effective teams are successful because of their differences, not despite them. For more information visit http://www.nowjustaddwater.com/asia/
 

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