When Purpose = Profit

Last week I got some game-changing inspiration from the HBR IdeaCast with Paul Polman. In 10 years he took Unilever from declining revenues and market share to exponential growth.

How did he do it? By putting purpose at the center of everything.  From vision to shareholder relations, to H.R. policies to sourcing, Polman tapped into the human propensity for mastery, autonomy and purpose that Daniel Pink talked about in his famous TED talk. And when we can enjoy those things, it’s also human nature to do the right thing. In 10 years under Polman’s leadership, Unilever delivered 19% a year to shareholders. Amazing stuff.

I wasn’t inspired because the idea was new to me. Most coaches believe that happier employees, doing the right thing, will lead to better results.  What’s inspiring is that if Paul Polman paves the way at a high level, what I love to do is diffuse the message to a broader audience.

I believe that my work gives professionals more confidence. That confidence leads to more balance and focus. And those leads to having what I call an energy “dividend” — more leftover energy that can be used in so many ways.

My personal hope is that individuals, teams and organizations collectively use that extra energy towards solving our biggest issues: Climate Change and Global Inequity. 

Business can be an engine for change, instead of a force that is keeping us from change.

So this week I face my work with renewed purpose and energy!

If you want an “energy dividend” that you or your team can reinvest, check out the I to the 4th Power programs on the Clear Strategy Coaching website.

My best,

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