Since posting my last blog I have been fortunate to talk to a number of leaders who inspire purpose within their own organisations and actively engage social purpose based partnerships.
These leaders recognise the value of maintaining a strategically aligned relationship with targeted not-for-profits.
I’ll go into greater depth over the coming posts about the shared value that both the commercial and not-for-profits gain from aligned relationships. However an interesting consistency in each of the conversations with these leaders struck me that I hadn’t considered previously, that I will return to shortly.
I have to go in to a bit of business case spiel here, bear with me.
While there is overwhelming evidence of companies that embrace a sense of purpose consistently outperform their competition, the leaders I spoke to were not initially motivated to initiate social partnerships with an expectation that there would be an immediate direct bottom line benefit.
They are acutely aware that their customers, stakeholders and employees have an expectation that their company must be a good corporate citizen, contribute to the society they operate within and demonstrate not talk values. Their motivation to partner with a not-for-profit that has a sensible strategic alignment with their business’s culture and objectives is pragmatic and sensitive leadership. With a modern workforce that demands a greater sense of contribution in their roles beyond just profit (65% of the millennial workforce declare they would actively seek out employers who satisfy this demand) then that leadership sensitivity is well founded. The pragmatic outcome is greater staff retention, improved acquisition potential and commitment.
Similarly instilling a culture within an organization that is acutely aware of and attached to their society has many positive benefits. A workforce that views their world in an empathetic and caring manner encourages people centric thinking, innovation, creativity and a far keener knowledge of consumer expectations.
Further intangible but nonetheless real benefits to having an organization that sees itself as a citizen within it’s community, is improved customer loyalty, brand value and reputation, stakeholder engagement and new business opportunities.
Thus endeth the business case lesson, I promise!
What struck me in my conversations was that while the leaders talked of the ‘business case’ impact, the motivation that their employees felt from social purpose engagement, the positive impact of the combined empathy that the human connection had instilled into the organisation, what the leaders gradually let slip was what it meant to them.
They talked of the impact of listening to or working with people, kids, and families whose battles and strength in life far outweighed their day-to-day management issues. They were visibly affected by the positive impact of courage, stamina and will. They were motivated by the sense of good that there is in people and those supporting not-for-profits that have no where near the resources these leaders are used to yet achieve amazing results. These social purpose relationships clearly had not only a humanising impact on them and how they related to their people but also an inspiring one to be better leaders themselves.
I have been fortunate to witness many of these stories and understand the impact of the relationships between the corporate sector and not-for-profits and believe absolutely that if managed properly the WIN-WIN is huge and multifaceted. Don’t under value the mutual contribution that great partnerships can achieve through their individual strengths. That’s why I started Purpose Built, to help facilitate these relationships.