A somewhat remarkable thing occurred in the world of corporate governance recently – 200 CEOs signed the Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of the Corporation. While signing an agreement isn’t remarkable by itself, what is remarkable is that they are no longer stating that they exist principally to serve their shareholders – the canon since 1997. CEOs are publicly aligning themselves with Purpose, committing to a challenge for a more inclusive economy based on long-term value. Some would find this unremarkable, “It’s about time!” while others say, “They’re crazy! They’re reacting to a public crisis of trust.”
We believe that Leading from Purpose is a promise worth keeping. To learn more, Conversant lays out practices and principles of Purpose in The Vitality Imperative.
What is also remarkable is that they’ve committed to a Collective Purpose, to “all of our stakeholders.” Committing to put customers first, investing in employees…with dignity and respect, dealing fairly and ethically with suppliers, supporting the communities in which they work, and generating long-term value for shareholders with transparency.
But, what will it take to live this collective Purpose? First, we need the ability to see and understand the unique ecosystem of relationships in which we are connected, and our Purpose in it. This is a fundamental shift in perspective, in how we see our role in the world, and how we serve and operate. Next, we need to discover our unique Purpose in that ecosystem, which determines how we drive and deliver value. We need Connected Confidence.
Connected Confidence is not only the ability to see a 360° view of the living system of relationships, the ecosystem in which we operate, but to sense and adapt as needs shift, to allow us to unleash our collective brilliance and full potential – to deliver value as collectively defined within that ecosystem. It’s living on Purpose in that community.
Connected Confidence requires a different kind of leadership – Connected Leadership, leaders who are gifted in the art of connection, that reveals opportunity and inspires performance. Connection rooted in community, contribution and choice.
Community: The CEOs who’ve committed to the Purpose Statement at the Business Roundtable are “in this together,” on a journey to shared achievement.
Contribution: They’re committed to making a meaningful difference.
Choice: Choice is the victory of commitment over compliance. Each of us chooses to be devoted or not; it cannot be demanded. They’ve made a bold choice.
With Connected Leadership, we make Purpose the boss. When Purpose is the boss, people refer to Purpose to resolve differences. Purpose drives leaders to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. As a result, teams make their own decisions and work becomes easier. This is living Connected Leadership – intentionally living on Purpose. Purpose becomes the alignment tool to drive results. To begin, practice with a simple tool to discover collective Purpose.
In a world of customer data privacy breaches and airlines leaving passengers stranded on a runway for hours, we can choose to get really good at public apologies, or mitigate their necessity. Rather than hiring a PR firm for damage control, we can proactively choose to connect with Purpose – inside and out.
In an increasingly complex, hyper-connected digital world, Connected Leadership with Connected Confidence is your Competitive Advantage. Lead with what you are for, not against, and benefit from the mutual resolve of a community.