How organisations can grow


How organisations can grow by strengthening their social responsibility. Purpose, as the great Marty Neumeier articulated, is the reason you exist beyond making money. That seems counterintuitive in a world that still believes that the only real measure of success is the almighty dollar. The market wants more from you than your greed. Your customer wants to know if you are worthy of their dollar.

That same customer sees the power that each dollar gives them to craft a better future for themselves and their children. They choose to spend it wisely – not all of them, but enough of them to create a sea of change in their fortunes. 

When I started out in marketing, we didn’t worry too much about purpose or values. They were meaningless words that you put in fancy frames and hung up in your waiting room for visitors to read. They didn’t believe you then, and they don’t believe you now – unless they’ve proof that you are who you say you are. 

A few years ago, I took part in a simple values exercise. You know, the one where you pick your core values by whittling down a long list of abstract words. I did it honestly and vulnerably and, in doing so, was shaken by what my own subconscious revealed to me. It was at a time in my life when my Dad was in the final stages of Parkinson’s. The word was “Courage”, and I truly felt the importance of bringing that to the fore in my life. It framed how I lived going forward and the subsequent grief over this kind, gentle man who played such a powerful role in my life. 

It also reframed my approach to uncovering brands and co-creating strategies with my clients. Even those words – co-creating and uncovering were part of the reframe. Now Purpose, Mission, Vision and Values are always the starting point in my work, and the impact this has on a business’s trajectory is unmistakable.

Everybody resists truly expressing their purpose & values

In one case, I remember the client asked ChatGPT to write it for them. I sense the resistance is because most people don’t see the value and are in too much of a rush to do it right. To do it right requires courage. The courage to show who you truly are and to name what matters most to you in the world. 

These are ideas that are usually expressed in founders’ stories of where it all started. They are often only wheeled out as a PR exercise. The secret is to move them beyond being a story and into truth, into the reason the business exists. When you do this openly, your strategy starts to realign, your employees and customers start to take notice, and your business moves in a more focused direction. 

Lip Service is an issue for social responsibility

During my work with a Tech company who were in the digital transformation space, we recognised that they’d always shied away from openly sharing their heart-felt motivation to start the business; to use the technology they worked with to help people spend their time doing more meaningful work. 

We realigned their strategy and messaging to bring this to the forefront of their internal and external communication. We worked hand in hand with their HR department to bring it to life. 

And then, we used the business itself as a model for their purpose, adding a new value to their beliefs. One where employees were required to “act with care”; care for each other, their customers and the community around them. 

Everything became “meaningful” because that was their purpose. Efficiencies delivered as a result of technology were a way to become meaningful, not an end in itself. More clients were attracted to this way of doing business, seeking to replicate it in their own organisations, and employees sought the company out, believing in this vision for the future of their work. 

Being a meaningful organisation meant their social responsibilities would be meaningful too, supporting local community groups, young people who needed a way into technology, and so many other initiatives, each hand-picked by their own employees. 

With a culture where “meaningful” becomes part of who you are, employees can choose which social initiatives have meaning for them and they are empowered to act on that. Time and resources are allocated based on what employees choose that is meaningful for them. 

You can’t have social responsibility unless you have purpose.

In 4 years, the business has more than doubled in size, become a Fast 500 EMEA Winner with Deloitte, been in the top 1000 Europe’s Fasted Growing Companies and was recently bought out by the leading software company in their space. This is a company that has been inspired by its culture and is using them as inspiration for its 8,900 employees in 90 countries.   

Social responsibility can be more than allocating small budgets to random charities as a way to absolve the guilt of greed. Social responsibility, when connected with purpose, can simply be part of who you are. True Triple sustainability; people, planet, and profit all working together towards one change-making goal; one that everyone believes in.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here