One month into the new year, and challenges for the free world are mounting. Political turmoil continues to dominate headlines – and more is likely to come our way with upcoming elections in countries like France and The Netherlands. We live in a time where less than 50% of our global population believes they’ll be better off five years from now, and trust in governments by the general public is a mere ~42%.
For organisations, now is the ideal time to combine doing good with making a profit, and we believe this is a trend multinationals should not miss. Reasons are multiple. While trust in institutions like the media and government is low, trust in both NGOs and business is rising again (see slide below, thanks to Edelman). Additionally, people also trust organisations more to ‘keep pace’ with the current tide, since they are generally more agile than governments. A final point can be made based on the perception of the general public: 80% feels organisations should address social issues, and the greatest gaps in leadership are to be found in integrity, engagement and purpose (see second slide below).
The great challenge for many organisations then, especially multinationals, is to design a strategy that combines doing good with a healthy bottom line, or purpose with profit. The opportunities for organisations that achieve this are endless: purposeful organisations find it easier to attract A-talent, are more profitable in general, and are generally more effective with their transformations. In addition to that, the free publicity can be huge; Patagonia and Nike were recently invited to Davos to collect prices for their efforts. These companies also build enduring partnerships with their suppliers through similar value systems.
To summarise: in an increasingly divided world where trust is an issue, great opportunities can be found for organisations. Sooner or later, combining purpose with profit will be the new normal. The time to embark on this journey is now.