Legacies of COVID-19
Over 1,500 global C-Suite executives, including over 900 CEOs, when asked what they see as legacies of COVID-19:
67% Climate change focus will increase
55% Businesses now expected to address social goals
Source: The Conference Board C-Suite Challenge™ 2021
Leading from the top of an organization is no longer about just the financials. The world today is vastly different than even a year ago and successful leadership requires a broader, intentional focus on purpose.
Martin Radvan, ECC Executive Partner, has been at the top leading thousands of global associates as Deputy Group CEO and EVP at Mars, Inc. Now, as an advisor to those in the C-Suite, Martin sees a strong commonality in what today’s leaders need to successfully drive their businesses in highly competitive environments amidst constantly changing socio-political landscapes. That commonality is purpose.
In fact, consumers are demanding it. A recent global survey of 8,000 consumers across 8 global markets revealed that consumers are 4 - 6 times more likely to purchase, protect, champion, and trust purpose-driven brands and companies.1
CEOs and their leadership teams must respond. To drive long term viability and success, they must expand their business focus to include a broader, multi-dimensional focus on purpose.
Four Dimensions of Purpose
Radvan characterizes four dimensions of purpose, that when applied, will enable C-Suite leaders to lead their organizations more effectively and more successfully than in the past.
- Financial capital,
- People capital,
- Social capital, and
- Natural capital.
“The value of purpose is more important than ever before, not only because consumers are demanding it, but also because competition has stepped up considerably as online and ecommerce options have opened the door with a much lower price of entry,” states Martin. “CEOs must act quickly with agility to bring the rigor of financial capital to people, social, and natural capital. If they don’t, their competitors certainly will, if they haven’t already.”
Martin offers leaders 5 key steps as a guide to help become a more purpose-driven brand/company.
1. Understand the “as is” situation.
- Be clear on what your brand and company are good at and not good at in terms of capabilities and possibilities and how they measure against those 4 capitals.
- Know your executive team and rely on their expertise.
- Listen carefully, be open and receptive.
- Don’t under do this key foundational step.
2. Articulate your purpose.
- Start thinking in the same mindset as each dimension of purpose.
- Address all relevant dimensions of purpose including financial, people, social, and environmental.
- Ensure relevancy of purpose for each dimension to your brand, to your organization, and to your company.
- Identify gaps in desired purpose vs. current “as is” - and how you might close those gaps.
3. Engage people/constituents - why they should care.
- Set clear business and organizational objectives and goals for each dimension of purpose.
- Ensure those goals are fully integrated throughout all levels of the organization.
- Communicate clearly and often to all key stakeholders - consumers, employees, and investors.
- Follow through with action.
4. Measure impacts.
- Set measurements that allow for early successes and quick pivots.
- Take pulse checks at regular intervals.
- Be nimble and agile to respond and pivot.
- Test, fail, and readjust quickly.
5. Find success.
- Celebrate and communicate successes to key stakeholders. Examples:
- Positive movement on engagement surveys
- Benchmarks against social norms
- Supply chain efficiencies
- Ensure each success leads and brings you closer to your purpose.
Leading a purpose-driven company, in particular as a newer C-Suite leader, can feel daunting at the onset. Martin advises, “Once your direction is set, start walking and adjust as you go. Use the mountain range in the distance (your purpose) as a guide to your direction but keep your focus one step in front. Know what you’re doing and where you’re headed. Measure, take feedback, and adjust. And don’t be afraid to reach out for external support.”
Sage advice from one who has successfully navigated the waters.
1 Unveiling the 2020 Zeno Strength of Purpose Study. Zenogroup.com, June 17, 2020.
- Purpose: Shifting from why to how. McKinsey, April 22, 2020.
- The board’s role in embedding corporate purpose: 5 actions directors can take today. McKinsey, November 20, 2020.
- Completing Capitalism: Heal Business to Heal the World. Bruno Roche & Jay Jakub. May, 2017.
ECC Executive Partners are proven C-Suite executives who provide specialized, confidential mentor and advisory support for C-Suite executives and executive candidates. If you or your organization are looking to enhance leadership, drive business results, and accelerate success, we’d welcome the opportunity to partner with you. Give us a call at +1.847.920.0190.
Martin Radvan is an ECC Executive Partner based in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, UK. Martin is a proven global business leader with over 30 years’ experience in the confections and food & beverage industries, where he most recently served as Deputy Group CEO and EVP at Mars, Inc. and President and CEO at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, the world’s largest confectionery manufacturer, where Martin was responsible for all Mars’ chocolate, gum, mints, and confections brands - an $18B P&L with 35,000 staff in 70 countries. Martin currently serves on the Board of Chipita SA where he is a member of Audit, Talent, and Remuneration Committees, and the Economics of Mutuality Foundation, where he is a Global Advisor.