What is Purpose-led leadership? Many executives think that a company’s purpose is simply to maximise shareholder value. Would it surprise you to know that a growing number of executives have a broader definition of their corporate purpose that includes factors other than shareholders and profits? Make no mistake, Purposeful companies seek to make a profit. But they also make addressing social problems, customer’s needs and the welfare of their employees a central part of their strategy.

  • Revenue growth
  • Social problems
  • Customer’s needs
  • Welfare of employees

Being profit minded and purpose-led is a lot easier for a start-up or entrepreneur-led companies. These leaders have to be clear about their reason for why they want to do what they are doing as well as attract new talent, customers and investors. An existing, long-standing company is either already purpose-led (Starbucks, Discovery Health, Google, Ben & Jerrys, Patagonia) or will get increasing pressure to expand its purpose to include all of its constituents. Business leaders are now talking about Shared Value, Conscious Capitalism and Purpose-Led organisations. Shared Value is defined as: creating economic value while addressing social needs and challenges. Conscious Capitalism is: a mode of doing business that attempts to create value for all stakeholders, employees, customers and the community.

Yes, a company must be profitable. We are conscious that employees need a reason to go to work and they want to know that they are working for a company that is making a positive contribution to society. Customers also want to buy from companies that are doing the same.

There are 5 reasons why a company would make this shift:

  • New CEO appointment
  • Reinvigorating and accelerating growth and innovation
  • Establishing a new brand essence and relevance
  • Integrating merged or acquired businesses
  • Building a new business model and basis of competition for value creation


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