To what extent should businesses focus on purpose beyond profit? Last year, the Financial Times highlighted the paradox that the most profitable companies are not those that are the most focused on profit.
Reporting on a joint Harvard Business Review and EY Beacon survey entitled The Business Case for Purpose, the FT notes how the findings show that companies that can harness the power of purpose, to drive profitability and performance, enjoy a competitive advantage.
Purpose impacts on how consumers buy, and increasingly on how firms recruit fresh talent.
Daniel Halenko is a firm advocate and supporter of adding social value to business and encouraging both purposefulness and integrity in business leadership.
“Don’t just focus on profit,” Daniel advises, “widen your perspective.”
As CEO of Bellit Security Group, Daniel is aware of the importance of businesses serving communities, and how acting locally can lead to global changes.
“Businesses need to contribute to their local communities, and the wider environment if they are to thrive,” he suggests. “There has to be a raised consciousness on the part of business leaders to make this change happen.”
“Traditional leadership models of command and control do not provide the adaptability and flexibility crucial to how the world is changing. If you don’t wake up to this change, you’ll find the world has moved on without you”
“Values increasingly drive consumer choice,” suggests Daniel, “and they are a major factor in how people choose whom they wish to work for. The dynamics are shifting decisively in favour of purpose beyond profit.”
Building Symbiotic Relationships
The next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs will need to embrace this shift in culture.
“Growth and contribution. These are key issues for business. Many companies are a hundred per cent team-driven, and no longer work to a top-down leadership model,” says Daniel.
“Leaders need to be aware of how they treat their teams, while at the same time be mindful of the communities in which, and with whom, they do business”
To this end, Daniel works hard at building symbiotic relationships, between businesses, organisations and communities.
“The Institute of Directors is there to help people succeed in business, and one of its key initiatives is the IoD 99, a membership scheme for budding entrepreneurs,” Daniel explains. “This support is enormously valuable, and part of this also reiterating the importance of purpose when putting your business together.”
This need not be a complex concept, as Daniel is quick to stress, but a logical one, “There is a relationship between a business’s purpose, the measures it takes, and the methods it uses,” he concludes. “If you want to improve your bottom line, you must make this relationship work, and work naturally.”
The Institute of Directors (IoD) is the UK’s longest-running membership organisation for professional leaders.
With the help of the IoD North West Regional Director, Claire Ebrey, this is one of series of articles profiling some of its members and how they champion responsible leadership and entrepreneurial growth.