Embracing Purpose-Led Strategy Requires Culture Change.
Embracing a purpose-led strategy takes more than just writing and communicating a compelling vision and mission statement. It requires a profound culture change or shift in all corners of the organization. Companies that have taken this initiative will address all stakeholders – consumers, customers, suppliers, the community, civil society, shareholders, and offer to enter into an engaging personal experience and more strategic business relationship. But have they identified what changes are required from their company culture to successfully embrace purpose?
Often the purpose is initially communicated via the re-launch of the website and other traditional communications channels. While such statements signal a transformation to external stakeholders, if the company culture does not live and breathe its new purpose, then it misses “walking the talk” and risks losing credibility. The living and breathing of this purpose happens through an organization’s employees, its customer service, its sales team – all the customer touch points. So, it’s important to start from within.
Thus, to fulfill the potential of the purpose, the following four practices are crucial:
Make sure your people embrace the new purpose
Rethink stakeholder relationships
Align internal stakeholders on culture change
Act fast for fast ROI
1. Make sure your people embrace the new purpose.
First, people within the organization must understand the new purpose. It’s not time wasted to explain it and bring it to life. This will enable people within the organization to embrace and take ownership of the purpose, and importantly, understand how each individual plays a role in delivering on its success. Habits, resistance to change or corporate inertia may get in the way and need to be addressed and dealt with early on to create a culture of employee ownership. It’s a journey that cannot be attained overnight and requires significant internal focus. Once the need for change is understood and accepted, work with people in the organization can focus on crafting the strategic framework required to implement it into ambitious business outcomes. This extends to describing the nature of the new relationship as well as establishing key projects and milestones critical to the success of the new business model.
2. Rethink stakeholder relationships.
As the company shifts from traditional shareholder first to a more collaborative stakeholder relationship, a redesign of business processes and a realignment with the different stakeholders is critical. It’s taking an “outside-in” view. Cultural transformation allows key teams to relinquish traditional work practices and invent new collaborative ways of relating to diverse stakeholders. This involves creating new listening competencies and embracing a consultative approach focused stakeholder solutions.
3. Align internal stakeholders on culture change.
Cultural transformation starts at the top, so Board and executive sponsorship is essential. But for the new purpose to be seen as successful requires all individuals in the organization to be aligned and fully committed. Constituting a leadership coalition team – comprising the organizations executive team and selected drivers of the implementation – can be a very effective tool. This team will lead the transformation, inspire the organization and ultimately take responsibility for delivering results.
4. Act fast for fast ROI.
While change doesn’t happen overnight, time is of the essence in large-scale cultural transformation and ROI is on the radar. Ensuring everybody is committed and energized ahead of the launch of a new purpose driven business is paramount. It will be rewarding to communicate the new purpose to stakeholders on day one. Ultimately you are creating an inspiring new relationship for the benefit of all stakeholders!
I welcome your feedback and am available to support you implement culture change in your organization.