Purpose-driven companies have a North Star that guides them
That North Star shines bright even in these fluid, turbulent times
In tough times, “analysis paralysis” too often hijacks decision-making. We want more information. We want more data. We want more direction from political leaders. We want more clarity about what our customers need.
Companies that are purpose-driven find ways beyond the paralysis.
For example, Pernod Ricard’s raison d’être is “Convivialité” and to encourage people “to go out in search of friends old and new to create a better world.” While enacting this purpose seems daunting during social distancing, Pernod Ricard swiftly found a way to bring it to life and direct the company in a significant shift of resources.
The company is providing pure alcohol to produce hand sanitizer in France. Its subsidiaries around the world are supporting local efforts to produce hand sanitizer too.
In the past few days, we’ve seen stellar examples of purpose-driven companies exercising leadership.
- Comcast is offering low-income families free internet services in the US area because children need it for home schooling.
- U Haul is offering to 30 days of free storage for students’ belongings, if they’ve lost their student housing and don’t have a place to store their stuff in the US and Canada. The CEO simply calls it “an offer of goodwill.”
- LVMH converted 3 of manufacturing facilities that normally make fragrances for its Christian Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain brands; now they make hand sanitizer instead. LVMH expects to make 12 tons of the hydroalcoholic gel in the first week.
- On a smaller scale, Prairie Grass Restaurant in Chicago offers daily free phone consultations with chef Sarah Stenger to answer questions on home cooking and food prep. The restaurant also put customers in direct line with their suppliers, so that as demand from the restaurant declines, suppliers will pick up a few direct customers.
I’m not privy to how these companies arrived at their decisions. We do know these decisions were taken and acted upon swiftly. That requires strong leaders who know their North Star.
In this very rough and tumble time, a few cases may not make a significant trend. But they certainly are bright spots.
As we know from behavior change experts Chip Heath and Dan Heath, bright spots not only catch our attention. They show us the way forward.