As 2019 rapidly comes to an end, we are standing at the forefront of a new type of progression in terms of how businesses operate.
The Business Roundtable, an influential group of CEOs from major U.S. corporations, recently published an announcement that will surely spark change in companies – and it speaks directly to culture.
200 chief executive officers came together and consciously redefined “the purpose of a corporation”. In the past, serving shareholders and maximizing profits stood as their primary objectives. However, this outdated notion has been officially replaced by something far more contemporary – and yes, even compassionate.
Today, domestic corporations are aimed at building “an economy that serves all Americans”. This updated mission statement has shifted away from shareholders and instead devotes efforts towards stakeholders. This means proactively investing in all employees, delivering higher value to the customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting communities. While none of these are necessarily new ideas, they are not universally practiced.
Corporate Responsibility in the 21st Century
This new public statement presents a huge shift towards corporate responsibility, as Chair of the Business Roundtable Corporate Governance Committee Alex Gorsky notes, “It affirms the essential role corporations can play in improving our society when CEOs are truly committed to meeting the needs of all stakeholders.”
Today’s corporations are pushing the thresholds of innovation. They are supplying the goods, products, and services that we use in our daily lives. They provide the basis for transportation and communication technologies that are vital for economic expansion. When corporate influence extends this far, it only makes sense to identify long-term value for everyone involved.
Since its release, this announcement has been prompting companies to rethink their focus.
The Importance of a Strong Company Culture
The effect that a positive company environment has on a brand is impossible to ignore. More than 50% of executives say that corporate culture substantially influences productivity, creativity, profitability, value, and growth rates.
Today’s workforce is paying attention. A 2018 survey reveals that 86% of potential employees would not apply or continue working for a company that has a bad public reputation. On top of this, 65% of respondents said they would most likely stop working at a job that was being portrayed negatively due to poor business practices.
It becomes clear that the most influential way to build and retain an all-star team is through developing a positive, vibrant, and forward-thinking company. This however requires hard work, dedication, vision, self-evaluation and a clear purpose.
Defining Your Purpose
Does your company have a clear definition of purpose? Is it the right focus, considering today’s rapidly changing landscape?
A fair evaluation results from first looking within. What is the core goal that your company is founded upon? What character traits do you want your team to embody? How do you want to be viewed by your customers, competition, and team members?
Dive deeper into the topic. If you were a team member, what would you want from the company? How would you feel working for yourself? As a customer, why would someone choose (or not) to do business with you?
These guiding questions will lead you to a unique assessment. If you don’t like what you are hearing, it’s time to transform both your purpose and culture.
Yes, Everybody Matters
As these changes are brewing across America’s corporate scene, it conveniently serves as a reminder of the critical importance and value in treating your team the right way.
From my perspective, your team doesn’t only include the people who work with you. It extends out into your clients, partners, and anyone else who fuels your success. Taking on this holistic view enables you to look at the bigger picture and make responsible choices. True success is a cycle of growth that involves everyone who is a part of your company – both inside and out.