Every once in a while, there’s a signal that things are changing. I hope that this is one of those moments.
Larry Fink, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, recently sent out his annual letter to CEOs. This year, it was titled, A Sense of Purpose. I urge everyone to read it. Here’s an excerpt:
Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.
I totally agree!
Companies have a responsibility to all of their stakeholders, not just to a narrow set of needs (financial returns) for a subset of its stakeholders (shareholders). This perspective is part of what has fueled what I call Modernized Leadership, which is a rethinking of outdated management practices.
Fink’s letter is particularly powerful given that Blackrock is the world’s largest asset manager. When investors take a longer-term point of view, they recognize that the creation of true value is driven by a commitment to a strong sense of purpose. As Fink says…
Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders. It will succumb to short-term pressures to distribute earnings, and, in the process, sacrifice investments in employee development, innovation, and capital expenditures that are necessary for long-term growth.
Why is purpose so important? This video shows its power:
Purpose has been one of Temkin Group’s core themes for many years, so we have a lot of content on the topic. If you’re interested in becoming a more purposeful leader, I suggest you start here:
Having a sense of purpose isn’t just a notion reserved for CEOs and leaders, its applicable to everyone. We all share the responsibility for making the world around us a better place. With that in mind, I urge you to join Temkin Group in making 2018 The Year of Humanity.
The bottom line: We can make this a moment of change.