In a recent webinar hosted by Helle Bank Jorgensen, a panel including the Global Chairman of Unilever, the Chair of the CSR Committee from PVH Corp. and Managing Director of BlackRock was assembled to discuss the crucial board questions of our time. A general consensus was reached that a balance must be struck between long-term goals and short-term gains. Sustainable short-term shareholder returns will result from a clear, company-wide strategy for long-term success.
All businesses value consumer and employee loyalty and the opportunity to shape the playing field in which they operate. Mission-driven businesses such as B Corps Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s are finding that having an authentic purpose that resonates with their customers opens the door to exciting approaches to activism that engage their base in powerful ways. The union of company and employee passions not only boosts loyalty but also can lead to successful advocacy for shared causes. Conventional companies seeking to emulate their successes should follow three key steps:
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”… right?
I used to believe that the right plan would always yield the right result. Just follow the steps, stay the course, and celebrate the win. I then learned that people are unwieldy; if they don’t have a say in the plan, they won’t see how it pertains to them, and they don’t follow through. Easy solution: start with an environmental scan, adjust the plan to the people, and then you’re back on track – stay the course, celebrate the win.
But even after all that, my plans seemed to fail. And still, the problem seemed to be the people. I gave them a great plan, so why couldn’t they just fall in line?
When John Elkington coined the term “the Triple Bottom Line [TBL],” many hoped it would provide the lodestar for steering capitalism into a more just, sustainable future. Twenty years have passed since and that future seems as far away today as it did then—while the time to make that transition before Total Systems Collapse grows ever short.
It’s not that there hasn’t been progress toward this goal.