Doing Well by Doing Good
Last month, I had the pleasure of serving on a panel at the PRovoke Global Summit to talk about what it means to be a purpose-driven agency. I was joined by colleagues from two of our PROI partner agencies, Rebecca Mayo of Lansons in the UK and Matias Cartajena of Simplicity in Chile. While all three agencies have a different focus on services, clients and sectors, some commonalities emerged that can help agencies and organizations that want to evolve towards a purpose-driven orientation. Define a purpose statement that ties into your values. For C+C, our purpose statement is to ”help take care of people and the planet.” This statement was developed with collaboration from all staff and serves as our guidepost for all internal and external decisions. Purpose drives retention. The ability to offer staff the chance to focus their talents on purpose-driven clients and causes is both a valuable recruitment and retention tool. And since an agency’s primary asset is its people, retention is a top business metric. A stable workforce is also a key ingredient to client retention. Purpose can drive client results. Counseling clients on their purpose is a key part of helping them be successful. Helping clients to support their customers (whoever they are) in a purposeful way builds deeper customer connections that last over time, building client success. Purpose is not a pro bono project. While doing pro bono work to support nonprofits is important to our communities, it is not enough. Purpose is not a “check the box” activity that can be accomplished by doing something like a pro bono project. Instead, purpose needs to be fully integrated throughout an organization or agency. Purpose is a collaborative, ongoing process, not just a tagline in the business plan. C+C was founded 18 years ago with a business plan built on the premise that an agency focused on purpose could thrive. We’ve proven the concept with more than 100 team members today doing work that is helping people and the planet. Purpose is an ongoing conversation that we dig into with staff and evolve as our agency and the communities we serve change. Don’t be afraid to listen, learn and adapt to make sure you stay aligned with your purposeful guidepost. The bottom line is that purpose and profit are not a dichotomy. A focus on purpose is good business. It drives an engaged culture and staff retention that allows teams to produce impactful work for clients. At C+C, we talk about the fact that our “secret sauce” is doing great, purposeful work and focusing on making sure we are strong partners with our clients. If we do these two things, we will have a successful and financially healthy agency that is, in fact, doing well by doing good.