Finding your North Star
When Wiener talks about a “true north,” Grant Thornton UK CEO Sacha Romanovitch understands where he’s coming from. As a global network of member firms, Grant Thornton’s purpose is to help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth. That is because we understand that these companies are the engines of the global economy.
At Grant Thornton UK, that purpose has evolved into shaping a vibrant economy because high-growth firms cannot thrive in a vacuum. “We know that businesses that outperform the market stand for something; they have a clarity of purpose,” Romanovitch recently told Grant Thornton UK’s Alumni Magazine.
“Ours is clear: to shape a vibrant economy where there is trust and integrity in markets; a business and social environment where business and people can thrive; and dynamic organisations unlocking their potential for growth. This informs who we work with, what we do for them, what we speak out on and how we are as a business. It’s our North Star.”
Grant Thornton UK’s ‘Vision 2020’ strategy is a road map towards helping the firm to demonstrate its purpose in everything it does and says. As part of that road map, it is currently in discussions with its people about adopting a shared enterprise model. Under the model all 4,500 employees would share their ideas about how the firm can demonstrate its purpose, share in the responsibility for living it and share in the resulting superior rewards.
“It’s important for people to have meaningful work, which allows them to connect what they’re doing on a day-to-day level with something that actually matters to them on a personal level,” says Romanovitch. “Shared enterprise is about creating an environment where everybody’s got that clarity of purpose and we’re just creating space for people to ask how, how, how.”
Defining your social purpose
So how can companies define their purpose? Hieatt believes that once a company identifies its enemy – be that bad design, bad service, too much pollution or anything else – eliminating that enemy becomes the company’s purpose. Beyond that, he advises simplicity, consistency and a drive to change the thing you hate.
That ongoing quest for change, says Hieatt, is the secret to why brands with a purpose succeed.
People instinctively want to be part of change and will gather around ideas that promise to change things for the better, be that helping people to be healthy, helping them to find what they need faster, or giving them guilt-free enjoyment of the great outdoors.
Leaders of dynamic organisations that can identify the thing they want to change and articulate the reasons why could enjoy greater engagement and growth as employees and customers rally around this purpose beyond profit.
Grant Thornton is an independent audit, tax and advisory firm.