A purposeful company

Companies exist to make money. They also should be responsible contributors to the community. Besides creating jobs and contributing to the economy, companies should have a social component to their existence. Some ways for companies to start contributing to the local community/city are to ask themselves a few questions first:

What local problems can the company help solve?

What areas do the employees want to contribute in?

What are some current challenges in the community where the company can provide their expertise in?

If the company could focus on solving one issue, how much of a difference can they make in the short term or long term?

What are the expectations of the company from the community, local leaders, and other stakeholders?

Making a difference in the world

Bill and Melinda Gates were asked by a reader What would your advice be to young people who want to make a difference in the world for the better? Here’s what they had to say:

Bill: Choose a cause that’s important to you and get involved. Whether you can donate your money, your time, or your voice, there are thousands of incredible nonprofits that could use your help. I’m a big fan of ONE, but websites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar can help you find other reputable organizations working on the issues that you care about the most. If you’re interested in volunteering, our foundation put together a good list of resources to help connect you to opportunities.

Melinda: Remember that no one is born a change-maker. It’s something you become when you see a problem, then dare to become part of the solution.

If you want to know what that looks like, just look to the young men and women of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In the wake of unfathomable and unacceptable gun violence, these students are insisting that their tragedy will be the last. “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks,” student Emma Gonzalez said last week. “We are going to change the law.”

This is how change happens. With bravery, hope, commitment—and the knowledge that progress only comes when we stand up and demand it.

Perhaps, sir, you will someday come back with books…

That’s what the headmaster of a local school told John Wood, a Microsoft executive in 1998 after he had just completed the eighteen day, two-hundred mile trek of Nepal’s Annapurna mountain range. John did return to Nepal with books and started Room to Read. Today over 20,000 communities in 15 countries have Room to Read libraries.

In the book, Purpose, Incorporated: Turning Cause Into Your Competitive Advantage, John and Amalia McGibbon delve into the origins of Room to Read, lessons from running the non profit as a business and the many conversations they had with business leaders trying to infuse purpose into their companies. John states in the book that “these business leaders saw purpose not as a nice thing to do but as a must-do-a key competitive advantage that could enhance enterprise value.” 

Purpose is becoming more and more an integral part of a company’s strategic focus. Once an afterthought at most companies, now purpose is an important discussion taking place in the halls and boardrooms of startups to multinationals. According to THE 2015 MILLENNIAL IMPACT REPORT, 44% of millennial employees said they were more likely to volunteer if their supervisor participated and 65% were more likely to volunteer if their coworkers participated. We expect companies to do more good in the communities they operate in. We as employees want our companies to contribute more to the society. With great power does come greater responsibility.

How to get started with purposeful initiatives at your company?

  1. Learn what your employees are most passionate about. Listen to their conversations, interests and things they do on weekends. Some love helping out in schools, others are excited about going to orphanages and elderly homes. You can start from there.
  2. Research on things that will make the most impact at any given time and take up that cause. If there has been a recent flood or landslides, you can mobilize your coworkers to collect basic necessities and arrange to transport them to those in need.
  3. Track your company’s social impact and share the results with the team. When you track the initiatives and the impact made, team members will become more motivated, inspired and excited to contribute to a bigger mission.



Purpose, Incorporated

Purpose, Incorporated is the new book from Room to Read Founder and author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, John Wood. The book will be launching in February 2018.

Profit should not be the only purpose for a company’s existence. It has to equally have a purpose – a responsibility to serve its people and the community. It has to contribute to a greater good than just its stockholders. With a purpose integrated in its vision, it will benefit the company, its employees and the community in the long run. I can’t wait to get a copy of Purpose, Incorporated.

Get updates on the book at https://twitter.com/PurposeIncBook