We paraphrase here Ms. Kanter’s four characteristics of sustainable and successful businesses, and ask a relevant question for each.
1. An enterprise has to be defined in terms of how it serves society; it must integrate all employees and stakeholders around this purpose.
Does your company have a clear “value for all” purpose? Are conversations about this proposition taking place at the highest level of your organization?
2. Innovation is both the way you make money and how you serve society. The more you innovate to solve social problems, the more profitable and sustainable you will be. This is your innovation advantage.
Does your company have a clear vision of what the “next needs” might be ? What solutions will you create? Are you listening to conversations on social networks to gather ideas for new products and services?
3. The ecosystem around a company is key to its success. This is what Kanter calls the partnership advantage. No company can succeed without being part of a network of other companies and organizations.
Does your company know the players in our ecosystem? Do you need to partner more closely with them? What conversations can you have with partners on social networks?
4. The last point, according to Kanter is, in fact, the first one: It’s about people. A key dimension of the social and business changes we see today concerns the value shift. The most talented young people want to act on their values, their desire to make the world a better place. They want to feel that they are contributing to something that makes a difference for their community, not just for them.
Business leaders, in turn, need to give their people the chance to take on an issue that’s relevant to the company’s purpose and to the local or global community, whether it’s climate change or education. Enabling employees to progress on an issue close to their hearts is the best way to transform them into leaders of tomorrow. For more information on this topic, you might want to read The Talent Journey by Kevin Keohane.
Does your company have a defined employee engagement strategy? We can help with this question and many others as you develop your “value for all” proposition.