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A higher purpose than earnings

Danny Ruspandini - Impact Labs Australia
Danny R.

Ever thought your organisation would struggle to “do good” because you’re not a social enterprise or a charity or a not-for-profit?

If so, I’d recommend a book called Good Is The New Cool.

If you don’t have time for a book, the basic idea is that any business can really create it’s own version of “good”.

Should that have boundaries? Yep, it should.

Good is subjective. Say you own a coal mine - to you, good looks like “yay-we-make-more-coal-so-we-can-power-the-future! 🌈🤩🦄 ”. Good for you maybe, but pretty crap for that future you mentioned.

So to keep it as objective as possible, a nice simple framework might be to look at “good” through the lens of the triple-bottom-line: People, Profit and Planet.

What does that mean exactly?

A bog-standard business operates to maximise Profit - that’s the goal for pretty much all of us. Profit is “good” - it allows our staff to pay their mortgages, and keep us in business. We focus a lot of energy into generating revenue and maximising it’s profit.

Now what if you sprinkled in some of the other two?

Hopefully most businesses at least look after their People - we know not all do. Fair work hours and fair pay is not a minimum expectation across the globe yet. It’s probably not even the minimum in your city. But there is more and more evidence of organisations committing to equal pay, inclusivity and diversity, career advancement, training, intrapreneurship support, exceptional customer service... This is where an organisation is really working People into their “good” equation. To the point where the effort put into looking after their people matches, or even overtakes, the effort behind profit.

Other businesses again will be putting the Planet up with or above it’s profits. I don’t usually like using megacorps as examples, but the story I like is that Microsoft committed to offsetting all the carbon it’s emitted since it’s inception in 1975. It’s been operating as a carbon-neutral organisation for several years already, but this would actually make it carbon-negative. That’s a huge commitment to the Planet.

So as good as profit is, it’s not your only measure of good.

People and Planet also aren’t the only other levers you have to boost your "good". Does something drive your organisation to operate, beyond making profit?

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