- Sat, December 10 2011
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
I attended the Chief Strategy Officer Summit this week in New York, and I heard two things over and over again from chief strategy officers from every type of company:
1. You find your strategy in solving the current and future pain points of those your serve
2. A good strategy takes into full account competitive and market contexts - and, increasingly, embraces a higher purpose
Both of these observations are highly relevant to our sector. First, just as a company can thrive by focusing like a laser on the needs of their consumers, nonprofits do best when they are operating with a keen sense of the best way to serve their beneficiaries. Second, nonprofits are well served by focusing on where they can add value (rather than in doing what other organizations already do well).
As for the fact that corporations are waking up to the need to have a higher purpose, that’s great news for us.
Jennifer Scott, the strategy director of Virgin Media, said 90% of people feel companies need to do more good, not just less bad, and she quoted Michael Porter, who has said: “Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy or even sustainability but a new way to achieve economic success… the next wave of transformational business thinking.”
She added, if a company’s only goal is to make profit, the only way customers can evaluate you is price and the only way employees can evaluate you is on what you pay them.
As companies realize they need to do some good in the world in order to make a profit, we have an unprecedented opportunity for deeper partnerships with them. And so tapping into that interest should be part of our own strategies in 2012.