For centuries, success has been objectified as how much money we earn and the things we buy with it. The front-pages of business magazines praise the companies that earn the most and use ‘do good’ as an invective.
But times are changing. Society is increasingly demanding that the corporate sector takes responsibility for our shared world and values. Success is being redefined. Purpose is the new profit.
To attain is to sustain
When Lego decides to invest 1 billion kroner into finding an alternative to plastic (made of oil) for its bricks, it is more than a CSR strategy – it is thinking about its long-term business growth.
When the phone company Call Me insists on using the phrase “Tal ordentligt” (Watch your language) and builds its business around making a difference in the world rather than just selling phones, it is rethinking its business model.
But the intention behind these investments and rethinking is more than ‘just’ doing good – it is also about building a sustainable business.
Leaving their mark
As Danish companies consider their position, their countrymen are joining forces across the country, and even overseas, to help the refugees and economic migrants coming here from Syria and other countries.
In just days – and sometimes hours – they have gathered in order to help the new arrivals with money, clothes and transportation. They want to make a mark. And the companies and employers need to understand this and learn how to meet this demand.
“Purpose is a pivotal point,” contends Shannon Schuyler, the chief corporate responsibility and purpose officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Purpose is where and how individuals unite and embrace their personal goals and ideals in concert with corporate values and objectives across an organisation. Purpose is about the power of collaboration, the pride – and prosperity – that results from making a mark together.”
The world is crying out for us to redefine success as something that involves us having a positive impact on the world. That time has come.