What have you learnt from Coronavirus and how can you create a more purposeful business going forwards?

After six months of frantic virtual board meetings, businesses large and small across the globe have been collectively navigating the impact of Coronavirus. Whether you’ve been fighting for survival or maximising the opportunity to reshape or grow, have you considered how the last six months has changed your business, your people and perhaps challenged your own thinking?

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to be more agile, continually translating the latest Government guidance into their Covid-19 plans. There hasn’t been much time for reflection as business leaders have been delicately balancing the immediacy of the impact of the restrictions and cash flow, with the pressing need to make long-term investments to accelerate the digitization of their supply chains, customer channels, and new systems/processes, to meet the expectations of a changing customer base and workforce.

Collaboration is key to solving global challenges

In our conversations with business leaders, we’ve been discussing the societal impact of the pandemic and how sustainability (economic, social and environmental) is becoming a key driver shaping their decision making.

There is an increased expectation that businesses will collaborate and play a key role in shaping solutions to global challenges, collectively harnessing their resources to achieve objectives which go beyond maximising shareholder return. This theme has underlined the importance of businesses really understanding their core purpose, consistently using it to inform their strategy and communications.

Businesses that are in a position to build their purpose into the DNA of their organisation will be able to use it as the glue that unites remote teams, creates brand value, and enables them to meet the inevitable consumer demand for more purposeful businesses in the future.

Building a purposeful business

To create a purposeful business, you need to start thinking about:

Adopting a clear strategy

Your purposes need to be closely aligned to your business to ensure they are genuine and can be consistently applied.

Making your purpose part of your decision-making

Include these principles in your articles of association or constitution, codes of conduct, and policies and procedures. By embedding purpose in this way, success is defined, and performance relating to achieving your business’s purposes is prioritised at Board level. B-Corps use their certification as a lever to investment, credibility, growth and recruitment

Engaging with your people

Develop chosen staff members to be ‘sustainability leaders’ – those who demonstrate your company’s purposes in how they carry out their role and behave. This can help to embed a company-wide culture based on your purposes.

Recruiting carefully

Ensure your company’s purposes become part of your recruitment strategy, as well as your appointment processes.

Investing wisely

Your business needs to invest in line with its purposes. Make these principles, such as supporting the local economy or making ethical investments, part of your procurement and investment decisions. Ethical investment is increasingly important for regulators. In fact, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has produced a discussion paper highlighting how climate change and making ethical investment decisions can impact global economies.

Exploring new partnerships

Research opportunities for partnering or collaborating with organisations that share your values. Working together to contribute to shared aims can make a greater impact, while often strengthening supply chains and helping you develop resilience in new markets.

 

This article is part of our Adapt and Thrive initiative.