Coursera ‘New models of Business in Society’

Coursera ‘New models of Business in Society’

Here I was thinking I was alone in my Business Awareness cause. If you have any interest whatsoever in finding a way to conduct Business and also feel really good about the value you deliver, please enrol in this course. Professor Ed Freedman really makes it easy to find ways to start sustainable enterprise – which he identifies as Corporate Social Responsibility – I also posted a response on the discussion forum I would like to share, on how to get stakeholders aligned when rolling out sustainable goals and KPI’s (see full topic, you may need to subscribe first – but it’s well worth it)

These are my main takeaways from the purpose-before-profit discussion:

  1. Purpose will make it easier to align stakeholder interest
  2. Being open will make it easier for stakeholders to align
  3. You get the stakeholders you deserve based on purpose

I really like the idea of using the ‘nested why’ approach to determine purpose. I’d love to add to that.

Purpose will make it easier to align stakeholder interest than value or profit ever could

Balancing stakeholder value may seem counter-intuitive at first. Especially if you try balancing financial stakes. Even if you try balancing values. But what about purpose? I believe purpose may be a good way to get stakeholders to join forces. So that may mean it may be of interest to our business to figure out stakeholder purpose.

Okay, so figuring out your purpose is partly the goal of this course, how could you possibly try to figure out purpose for others as well? Well, I don’t think you can.

Being open about you purpose, walking the walk – will make it easier for stakeholders to align with your cause

You could however be very clear about showing what your purpose (or mission/vision) is all about. If you are being open about your purpose, you will make it easier for others to subscribe or argue. If your primary stakeholders subscribe to the way you practice your purpose (walk the walk), and your purpose is a valid one (basically: a thooughly good reason for getting out of bed every morning) – how could they oppose?

You really get the stakeholders (employees, customers, financiers, shareholders, suppliers, reactions from the community) you deserve, based not on profit, less so on value, but definitely based on your purpose

It now makes sense to me that you get the stakeholders you deserve: if you are open to customers, you will cultivate open customer relations, support groups & communities, if you are truly generous in your purpose, you will cultivate generosity in the DNA of your business & will attract equally generous employees. On the other hand, if you squander and boast, you will attract an audience of squanderful stakeholders, which will hurt your profits, which will be unsustainable.

Purpose must indeed be central to sustainability …