Written by Ellie Bowden
50 people passionate about purpose-led business joined us at Grant Thornton on 3rd June for our ‘Purpose Share Fair’. The event was aimed at those working with the Blueprint tools to bring about purpose-led businesses.
Nine speakers shared their stories through TED-style talks, which were short, lively, and – we were happily surprised – very personal. Insights ranged from the need for flexibility and courage to bring a company back its purpose, to finding your own purpose.
The speakers didn’t shy away from giving very personal accounts of the purpose journey they have taken both personally and in their companies. One speaker told of a lightbulb moment when her son asked why businesses don’t make the world a better place. She replied that ‘they don’t know how’ and in that answer she realised that a large aspect of her own personal purpose was to help businesses to ‘know how’. Another speaker shared his personal purpose of creating a world where business has a heart. This now informs key business decisions for his retail business, decisions that create close bonds with the local community, the very same local community that then stepped in to save the business when a large retail outlet threatened his business’ existence.
The importance of the individual’s role in purpose-driven business was further discussed in a presentation on what it is to be a ‘Challenger Leader’:- someone who is willing to challenge the status quo in order to push themselves, their business, and society, forward. These people, according to research referred to by this speaker, have a strong central purpose that grounds their actions giving them resilience, as well as the ability to harness the inherent instability of business to fuel creativity. Another speaker noted that companies are disconnected from their purpose because their leaders are disconnected from themselves but also from wider society. He continued that purpose and Blueprint can be used as an anchor to rectify this disconnect.
We heard loud and clear from our speakers that the purpose journey is a personal journey. That large organisations are made up of individuals, and it is the power, strength and hope of these individuals that brings about the purpose-led business change.
As one of our speakers from a large construction organisation told us – ‘change happens one person at a time’.