My strong assumption is that I am not alone in this reflection. I believe that many of us have begun to question whether we were striking the right balance between work and family, giving and receiving, profit and impact. This reflection is absolutely necessary in Vancouver’s business community.
After this year of immense change, challenge, and crisis, when everything we took for granted was turned upside down, Vancouver business leaders ought to be thinking long and hard about who they are and why they exist.
Take the Vancity Community Investment Bank as an example. It is the only Canadian bank whose sole focus is financing organizations that drive social, economic, and environmental change.
They invest in co-working space for local artists, renewable energy projects, affordable housing developments — all businesses that make our communities a more sustainable and equitable place to live while still facilitating and rewarding innovative entrepreneurship with traditional capital.
Their tagline could not be clearer: “Can the pursuit of profit also deliver positive impact for communities and the planet they inhabit? We say yes.”
The Vancity Community Investment Bank should serve as a model for all businesses with a vision to exist in the long term. Our communities are increasingly demanding a more equitable society. A groundbreaking cross-Canada survey from the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation recently demonstrated that issues of fairness and sustainability are by far the top two concerns of Canadians.
Once CEOs can establish one single concept, their ancillary activities fall into place. They need to know their personal reason for being and their true organizational “Why.”
Fill in the blanks: “I am ___ in service or commitment to ___.”
By constantly bringing our purpose statement to the forefront of our mind, we feed our brain with good chemicals that offer energy, clarity, and direction.
Now, more than ever, we need bold leaders in the business community who are willing to take a stand for issues they believe in, including those outside their core business operations.
The days of succeeding by just focusing on the bottom line are over. Consumers, employees, and shareholders alike are demanding more. Indeed, even our environment is asking us to make changes.
As we continue to face a world that is becoming less sustainable, less fair, and less just, I invite all readers — CEOs and frontline workers alike — to think about your “I am” statement.
We need to lead, or we will be led by our external circumstances. Why do you wake up every morning and what impact will you leave on the community in which you exist? By answering this one question, your life instantly becomes more meaningful and inspiring.
Catherine Bell is the founder of The Awakened Company and an expert panelist at the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation.