How Higher Purpose Liberates Conscious Innovation in Business

Author: Mauricio Goldstein is a founding partner at Corall consulting in Sāo Paulo  Brazil. https://www.en.corall.net/ . He is an international speaker, specializing in innovative organizational models and a co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism chapter in Brazil.

Today we know that innovation enables companies to grow and be successful in their markets. In fact, it’s also one of the best ways to express your purpose in the world. Innovation is the essence of life. It’s the way to adapt to our environment as we  survive and thrive in changing contexts and conditions.  

In this post, I want to specifically explore how the tenet of  Higher Purpose can generate innovation.

Human beings are naturally innovative. We are motivated by passion and belonging   and, when offered a nourishing context and resources, we express our passion through creativity as a way to serve and improve our community. Creativity and innovation are natural human attributes and expressions of our consciousness.

Realizing this, we are led to the question “How do we create organizations that liberate this natural potential that we all have?”

How a Boldly Creative Purpose Comes to Life

The way we think, relate to others, learn and organize ourselves in a company either enhances or reduces the creative drive. When employees feel that a company has a bold purpose, their ideas are welcome, there is an environment of collaboration and trust. They believe they can experiment (and even make mistakes). Then they are willing to contribute and build something different together. It is as if there is a special energy in the air, a frequency that favors innovation.

The four tenets of Conscious Capitalism (Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Culture, and Conscious Leadership) are fundamental building blocks for promoting and sustaining the frequency of conscious innovation.

Purpose-centered organizations start with a founder and a dream. The dream expresses a cause and purpose  the founder is passionate about. If employees sense that the organization’s purpose is authentic, they will be attracted to the company and gather around the purpose, energized by the idea of bringing it to life. Customers will identify with the purpose as well and seek to experience it through the products and services. The community around the organization will see itself as a key component of the purpose and recognize its mutual benefits.

The organization’s purpose is the reason for its existence and the agent that brings it all together. By consistently communicating and activating its purpose, the organization can reach its goals and achieve success organically.

Growth Can Sometimes Compete With Purpose

As organizations grow, leadership can get too focused on operations or on short-term results and forget their reason for being. When that happens, leaders and employees lose energy. Innovation is stifled, and the organization loses its strength.

When this happens, it’s time to reconnect to the organization’s essence and purpose. This is what touches the minds, hearts and souls of team members and stimulates conscious innovation.

Keeping Purpose at the Heart of Innovation

It’s critical to stay committed to your purpose as the marketplace changes. Here are some practical steps to keep purpose at the heart of innovation in your organization:

1)   Consistently look at your work and make sure your purpose continues to show up and inspire people. If not, bring your stakeholders together to recover the purpose that has meaning and relevance to your area or institution.

2)   Design your organization to be more innovative starting with your purpose as your foundation

3)   Tune in to this creative frequency, and liberate the human potential of your employees.

4)   Be sure to  welcome different points-of-view from people at all levels of your company. New ideas don’t just come from your leadership.

5)   While marketplace volatility is challenging, it keeps you on your toes. Use your purpose as a guide to respond to market forces, and quickly.

While you’re at it, don’t worry, have fun, be happy!

 


Takeaways from HigherPurpose17: Creating Authentic Connection with Stakeholders

Takeaways from HigherPurpose17: Creating Authentic Connection with Stakeholders

Author Dalya Massachi,  of Writing to Make a Difference, attended HigherPurpose17 and shares the takeaways that she’s applying to her business.

I’ve  been involved with CCBA for several years now, and I wasn’t sure if I would benefit from HigherPurpose17.  The CCBA events I have attended in the past have given me a solid grounding in the principles and practices of Conscious Capitalism, socially responsible business, the triple bottom line (people, planet, profits) and even B Corporations. I wondered: Would there be any new information at HigherPurpose17 for me to learn?

It turns out, I’m so glad I attended the conference!

In addition to great networking opportunities (true of all CCBA events), there were two complementary sessions that really stood out for me. The first was a presentation by Christine Comaford, founder of the neuroscience-based Smart Tribes Institute. The second was a practicum session on one of the Four Tenets of Conscious Capitalism, Stakeholder Orientation, led by Cathy Goerz, Co-Chair of the CCBA Marketing & Communications Committee, and Ryan Baum, Principal of Jump Associates.

What I learned from Christine Comaford: Every person wants, needs and buys only 3 three things.

Christine shared that all humans crave social connection. We all want to cultivate a sense of being able to recognize each other as essentially the same at our core. We are all searching for three basic experiences:

  • Safety – feeling physically and emotionally safe so we can take risks and grow
  • Belonging – a sense of being an equal member of the tribe
  • Mattering – everyone contributes and is appreciated and acknowledged

These three needs vary in prominence at any given moment for each person. Sometimes we seek more of one feeling than another.

When we seek safety, belonging and mattering we are able to enter our “Smart State” – a state of being where we become connected and emotionally engaged and can perform well at work, at home and in life. This allows us to do our best work and create success in our jobs, families and relationships.

Christine Comaford, founder of the neuroscience-based Smart Tribes Institute

 

How can we satisfy these three basic human needs for the people we work with?

You probably have a client, colleague, co-worker or vendor who hungers for safety, belonging or mattering. As a leader, you can behave in ways and create environments that make them feel that they are safe, that they belong and that they matter.

In any given interaction, Christine suggests you ask yourself these questions:

  • What does this person desire most right now – safety, belonging or mattering?
  • What can I say and do to help them experience what they crave and then feel safe enough to shift into their “Smart State?”
  • How will they know when they have what they crave?

The answers to these questions can help both you and the other person move forward together, performing well and feeling connected.

The other standout session for me was the practicum on Stakeholder Orientation.

Here we’re simply talking about a way of doing business where everyone in the business ecosystem – employees, customers, partners, suppliers and the community –  wins. Businesses with a Stakeholder Orientation understand that fully engaged stakeholders lead to healthy, sustainable and resilient organizations.

I noticed how each stakeholder group has needs that are actually related to the safety, belonging and mattering experiences we all are seeking:

Customers want solutions, valuable experiences, convenience and alignment with a company’s purpose.

Team Members desire harmonious workplace relationships, professional development and values alignment.

Suppliers want reliability, consistency and partnership.

Investors are looking for a return on investment, company integrity and strength.

Communities seek positive relationships, investment by the company and pride.

The Environment requires stewardship and  sustainability.

How do you really understand where your stakeholders are coming from and what they need?

Cathy and Ryan had some suggestions:

  1. Be like Delta Airlines and make sure your executives know first-hand what it’s like to interact with your company’s stakeholders. (Think of the TV show “Undercover Boss.”) Only after a Delta senior executive posed as an employee did the company start to turn the corner and improve its standing in the industry.

Another airline, Southwest, empowers all of its employees to go above and beyond the call of duty to personally empathize with their customers. Both parties value that the company strives to embody its purpose: “To connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”

Well-connected Southwest customer. Photo © Rusty Blazenhoff.

 

2. Ask your stakeholders directly – and listen beyond the words – by conducting stakeholder surveys and interviews. You will learn a lot about the people themselves, their needs and values and how they interact with your business.  

3. Participate in community gatherings and efforts. Provide opportunities for your organization to volunteer or offer financial support to community initiatives. Not only are you interacting with the people and businesses in your greater community but you are also in a better position to network and empathize with the wider environment you do business in.

4. Try this exercise: Ask yourself if you can guess what kind of gift a particular stakeholder would like to receive. How well do you know this person and can you really empathize with their personal needs and wants? If you can’t think of a gift they would like it’s time to start asking them more questions and listening more deeply.

As I reflect on my experience at HigherPurpose17, I am already thinking about how my small business will benefit from a strong focus on satisfying the safety, belonging, and mattering needs of all its stakeholders. How about your business? What are you doing to inspire connection and trust?