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Our world is changing!

Not only are we living in a VUCA world;

  • Volatility
  • Uncertainty
  • Complexity
  • Ambiguity

We have just come out of a global pandemic, here in the UK we are also experiencing the impact of Brexit, the war in Ukraine and it looks very likely that we are heading into a recession.

Over the last 12 months, we have seen that people are starting to revaluate how they want to live their lives and how they see the world of work. This change in behaviour is so substantial that it has even been given a name The Great Resignation.

“New research by Ipsos in the UK finds that 47% of British workers say that in the last 3 months they have either thought about quitting their job (26%), looked for another job (29%), applied for another job (13%) or spoken to their employer about resigning (6%)”. Ipsos February 2022.

In fact, the shift is becoming so great that the emphasis is now on organisations and employers to work hard to attract the right kind of people. Businesses need to sell themselves to new employees, and create strategies to ensure that they can retain and nurture their existing employees and teams.

Not only are they questioning how they want to work, whether that is hybrid working, home-working or other, their expectations are changing too. Employees now want to work for organisations that mean something to them, organisations that share their values and have a clear vision and purpose.

If we add into this mix Generation Z, who are often less motivated by higher salaries and instead prefer to prioritise an improved work-life balance and quality of life, the change is dramatic.

And the same can be said for consumers.

Consumers are changing the way that they interact with brands too. They are becoming more curious, more intentional, and more selective as they prefer to engage with brands that have a defined purpose and that stand for something. They are interested in companies that are value-led, that are ethical and able to show that they really care about them as customers, as well as the planet and the wider community.

…. consumers increasingly expect brands to “take a stand.” The point is not to have a politically correct position on a broad range of topics. It is to choose the specific topics (or causes) that make sense for a brand and its consumers and to have something clear to say about those particular issues. In a transparent world, younger consumers don’t distinguish between the ethics of a brand, the company that owns it, and its network of partners and suppliers. A company’s actions must match its ideals, and those ideals must permeate the entire stakeholder system.

The B-Corp movement is a great example of this of, as it encourages people to change the way that they view and interact with businesses and the way businesses define success. Promoting the idea that businesses should become a “force for good” and strive to impact and serve more than just their shareholders. Gone is the traditional role of organisations of focusing purely on making profit and rewarding the select and privileged few.

“Our most challenging global problems cannot be solved by governments and non-profits alone. By harnessing the power of their business, B Corps commit to positively impact all stakeholders – workers, communities, customers, and our planet.” BCorporation.UK

So what does this mean for you and your business?

It’s time for business and organisations to wake up.

Most of the bigger brands are starting to realise that they can’t continue with the traditional ways of doing things anymore. They are having to change the way they work, the way they behave and the way they communicate.

Businesses are now expected to play a more significant role in our wider society and to be intentional about how they impact people, the planet and the global economy.

It’s time to become a business that does good.

This is a perfect time for businesses like yours. For people who really want to create something special, who really believe in what they do and who want to make an impact and add value.

This is a huge opportunity for you to get it right, to really stand out from the crowd in the best way and to future-proof your business.

How to get started?

“People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it”. Simon Sinek

It starts on the inside. It starts by building solid foundations for your business, by getting really clear on why you do what you do, how you are going to do it and what it is important to you. In other words, defining what you stand for and why people should want to engage with you, buy from you or want to work with you. Because if you don’t know the answers to these questions, then how can we expect other people to know?

Whether you are the business owner or a manager within a business taking some time out to define your purpose and your values is important and involving as many people from your organisation in the process is the key to success and in embedding this into your way of doing things.

Understanding and defining your purpose and that of your organisation

Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

Whether you are already clear on the purpose, vision and values of your organisation or not, coming together as a team and engaging with each other around this topic is a fantastic way to communicate them and their meaning, ensure they are understood and embraced, and to provide an opportunity for discussion and debate.

It starts with you.

A powerful way for an organisation to live and breathe their vision and values is to understand the power of each individual within the team and what it is that each person brings to the business and the brand.

Create a safe space and time out to come together as a group and then invite each individual, including yourself, to take some time to reflect on your personal purpose and vision, why you do what they do and what your values are and then share with the group.

It can be incredibly insightful to learn what motivates each person, what they really enjoy doing and what it is that makes them feel fulfilled and what is important to them. Often you will find that each individual is able to bring a different skillset, driver or strength and complements the team as a whole.

By sharing these insights, it is a fantastic way of getting to know each other at a deeper lever, of understanding how you each work and what is important to you, but also of recognising the preferences and strengths of each individual and the team itself.

The next step is to examine together your company purpose and values and highlight the ways in which each member of the team brings value, strengthens them and reinforces them. And then invite a discussion around each one in turn, exploring what they mean for your brand, for each other and the way you do things.

If you don’t already have a defined purpose, vision and values for your brand, then building on this discussion and working as a team to do that is extremely valuable and will also ensure that each individual can take ownership of the vision and feels a part of something special.

Bringing your brand to life

Moving forward, to embrace the new world and to really harness the power of being a brand and organisation that means something, then everything you do as you build your business, should be geared towards showing up in a way that is aligned to your vision, purpose and your values.

These are the foundations of your business and are the key to the way your organisation will function. Everything you do should be with your purpose and values in mind, whether that is creating new products or services, recruiting new people, or saying yes or no to new partnerships. Bringing it back to what is at the core of your business will enable you to stay on track, keep focused and work in integrity with your brand.

Today’s world is a busy place. It is therefore fundamental that you find a way for your brand to stand out from the crowd and break through all the noise.

If you can communicate and act from the inside out, from a place of value and purpose, and really walk the talk, then you will be able to attract and retain the right kind of people, people who resonate with you and your brand and what you stand for, whether that is to join your team, as customers or to partner with you.

You will be able to build a solid reputation based on what you do and what you stand for, which is ultimately the key to thriving in this new world.

Author: Lucy Rennie of LR Comms | Published 17th August 2022.