"Measure the progress on the cathedral and feel the excitement of the parishioners, not how many bricks you need to lay this quarter." I spent the last 7 days working with country leadership teams preparing for the end of 22 and the start of 23. I reflected on how so much of what we do in companies is "business as usual" when it comes to talking about our success and achievements. It's about the targets, the profit, the contribution, the average prices. But this is not how you become a purpose-driven leader and organisation.
Purpose-driven organisations celebrate how they are changing the world, not how much they sell. This involves a major shift in how we communicate as leaders and how we communication departments feed leaders with communication.
I believe strongly that the only communication that resonates with people is about something local.
I recommend re-engineering the scoreboards and dashboards we give people everyday so that they reflect the chang
e your organisation is trying to bring in the world. If it's reducing carbon, then you need to have that on the TV in your reception when people come in or log on every morning. If it's about energy savings, then show it to them. But not on a global scale. Offices around the world need to focus on the climate-saving initiatives that are taking place around them in their local communities. We need to become much more grounded and connected to our physical locations if we are to make organisations more socially and environmentally responsible.
I have also noticed how we seem to have put nature in front of people in many of the ESG presentations I have seen recently. I don't think this will work or is the right idea. If a company doesn't improve the working conditions of its own people - make its workplace fairer, more equitable and inclusive, it doesn't matter how much you are saving the planet. People first, I say.
It starts with a psychologically safe and growth-minded culture. Then we can build business based on purpose. Then we can become about prosperity rather than profit-only
So, as we mark the end of the year and start of another, stop counting bricks. Put down your tools, find a good spot to gather and marvel at the unfinished cathedral in front of you. Feel your blisters, wipe the sweat from you brow, explain to the parishioners what it will look like and how marvellous the cathedral will be when you are finished.
Celebrate the change you are making in the world. You are not selling products, you are building a better world for your neighbours and your children.