By: Amanda Conley Ayers, Institute for Corporate Transformation Fellow
Look at any reputable business publication and you’re going to find many different definitions of how to achieve corporate transformation. After all, this is a topic that has been discussed for decades. While a singular definition of corporate transformation remains elusive, the purpose of these “transformations” typically centers around the shareholder primacy model, meaning that the goal of most corporate transformations is, almost always, to increase long-term financial success. A solid goal for certain. Still, we can’t help but wonder: Is financial success alone a transformative goal if financial success has been your goal all along?
In a world where there are so many critical issues to tackle, issues that are paramount to our individual happiness as well as our existential well-being, financial success alone feels like a predictable and woefully underwhelming goal for today’s leading companies.
Isn’t it more advantageous for companies to set truly transformational goals?
Obviously, we think so. In fact, we have a blueprint for it, but first, let’s talk a little bit about our definition of corporate transformation and the quintessential driver of its success, the Stakeholder Score.
Imagine that you have the opportunity to transform your company in a way that not only ensures financial success for your company, but financial success for all while it simultaneously builds collaborative relationships with all of your stakeholders – ensuring high quality, relational transactions that produce more value; helps people thrive – giving your team opportunities to apply their unique strengths and experiences to their work; dismantles discrimination – removing barriors to employement and intentionally diversifying the workspace to deliver more innovative ideas while giving people access to different life experiences and perspectives; increases ecological regeneration – identifying innovative ways to preserve natural resources while creating safer, healthier communities around the world, and achieves a company purpose – builds a company and a culture that has a purpose beyond profit. The Stakeholder Score helps companies to identify their level of success in each of these six areas, and gives them indicators of how to improve their score over time; moving them closer to a transformational company that is building A World that Works for Everyone.
Take a moment to allow yourself to imagine what this kind of transformation might look like at your company. How would it feel to be part of a company like this?
Now, what if you had the opportunity to build A World that Works for Everyone with your company – would you go for it?
Of course you would. So, let’s get back to that blueprint.
In addition to the Stakeholder Score, there are four essential elements required to transform a company from the old, shareholder supremacy model to the new (and far better) model of stakeholder capitalism. Here’s a brief overview on each.
Inside-out training for leadership within the company. We want to be super clear here. Leadership within your company includes the CEO and Senior Leadership as well as your managers and all the people they work for. This kind of leadership training has a focus on primacy of purpose, identifying how you got here, what you are here for, revealing new paths to bridge the gaps that will come into view, and building the self-reflective mechanism necessary to get you from where you are today to that future state you desire.
Strategic alignment. Once you have all your people thinking about and developing their leadership, you’ve got to prioritize strategic alignment of your infrastructure to support growth. This means the executive leaders need to align the company’s systems and processes so that the mission is crystal clear for all internal and external audiences through an activation of your unique culture. It’s also critical to assess and re-align the company’s products, services, and placement in the market to co-create a thriving ecosystem that elevates the entire community. With a new level of infrastructure alignment, everyone can contribute to growing a courageous organization that increases opportunities, social impact, and mutual prosperity.
Support your team with an empowering culture. You are well on your way to having everyone on your payroll embracing their skills and strengths and growing their leadership capacities. They’re also working together on strategic alignment to ensure they are delivering on essential goals for the company while building a courageous organization. Now, you’ve got to be sure you are building a culture that supports each person on this journey, empowering them to be their own change agent. Here the focus is on building an empowering culture and increasing internal capacity. Without that internalized consent to succeed, your team will probably not be able to achieve the kind of goals necessary for the exponential impact that accompanies corporate transformation.
Full alignment of company systems. Finally, you must not forget the critical task of aligning all of your systems. Full alignment of your company’s systems means that you will need to review all of the contracts, metrics, and procedures that impact the work you do every day, internally and externally. Specifically, you must focus on evaluating and upgrading the systems that exist in your HR, Finance, and Legal operations.
There’s no question, old paradigm or new, corporate transformation is not an easy task; it requires you, me, and anybody who wants the opportunity to realize their fullest potential and make good on some great big world-changing goals. The kind of 21st century goals that only exceptional companies can achieve. Like, building A World that Works for Everyone.
For too many years, leaders have been shackled to the shareholder primacy model despite their desire to do much greater things. And for equally as many years, they have talked about the challenges of this situation.Now is the time to take action. We know that viable working solutions are readily available to all of us, right now. So what are we waiting for?
If you are ready to lead your corporate transformation, the Stakeholder Score Activator can give you the quintessential tools you need to get started. In this program CEOs and their c-suite colleagues learn the methodology and step-by-step process to build the infrastructure to strategically align your company and achieve your mission. Simultaneously, team members will be learning the tools, systems, and processes that need to be activated at various levels so that you can all drive company-wide transformation together. You can check out more information on this program here.
The opportunity to build A World that Works for Everyone is yours. Are you going to take it?
You can check back here regularly as we continue to explore and demystify the building blocks of corporate transformation. Next month, we will begin our deep dive into the 6 elements of the Stakeholder Score, the heart of corporate transformation, and one of the most important points of leverage in the modern world to create A World that Works for Everyone.
In the meantime, we invite you to reflect on the essential elements of corporate transformation and what they look like for you at your company.
- Think about yourself as a leader. Do you understand your primacy of purpose? That is to say, do you understand the role you are called to play at your company? In what ways are you able to fulfill that role? Where might you fall short?
- If you were to ask your team to list your shortcomings, what would they say? And what – if anything – are you doing to be a better leader today?
- Do you have a clear strategic alignment between your role, the strengths you bring to the role, and the goals of the company? If not, what do you need to gain more clarity?
- Think about your company’s culture, that is, think about the demonstrated values, goals, and attitudes that exist throughout your company (keeping in mind that a company’s culture isn’t always a positive one). Does your company’s culture empower the team to be their own change agents? How do you know if this is true or not true?