Transform Your Organization with the Elements of L.I.G.H.T.

L = Live on Purpose

To live on purpose, you obviously need to know what your purpose is.  For an organization, the original purpose answers the questions “Why are we in business?”, “What would happen if we ceased to exist?” and “What value do we bring to stakeholders?”

A Shared Higher Impactful Purpose (SHIP) is deeper and answers the questions “How can we be good, go good and do well?”, “Why would we want to do have a SHIP in the first place?” and “Where can we create the biggest measurable and meaningful impact?”

An individual often discovers their purpose after examining the themes in their lives, their passion, their gifts and what they keep being drawn back towards.

Once you have identified your purpose and ensured it aligns with your values and your vision, you use it as your lighthouse to guide your decisions.

I = Inspire Others to Engage

Humans are hardwired to belong to communities which support their beliefs “Birds of a feather flock together”.

 Therefore, one would assume that people would join companies with co-workers who support their beliefs and with leaders that are driven by a common SHIP which aligns with their personal vision, core values, and purpose.

They don’t though – in reality, people are taking jobs that are not aligned with their values, their purpose, and their vision. 

They are working with co-workers that are more concerned about themselves than the SHIP and their leaders are making decisions that cause skepticism and lowers trust.

It’s no wonder that engagement is dismally low, which negatively impacts productivity, profit, performance and the well-being of employees. 

This ripples out to the customers’ experiences and the experiences of supporters, suppliers, and the community and it impacts the return to investors.

What would happen if you got to the root of your engagement problem and turned it around?

What if you reinvented your business – to focus on the value it brings to employees, customers, investors, suppliers, the local community, society, and planet?

What if your SHIP became your focus – and you rearranged your workplace, revamped your processes, evaluated your product line and eliminated waste – of people’s time, energy and potential, of raw materials and energy and of money?

What if everyone in your organization had an opportunity to create non-negotiable standards and processes, parameters for experimenting and innovation, and also held themselves and others accountable to produce results?

Inspiring people to engage with you and your organization requires a strong vision, consistent standards, accountability, emotional intelligence, open, consistent and honest communication and a willingness of leaders and managers to show appreciation, recognize, reward and provide opportunities to grow personally and professionally (amongst other things).

It’s not easy and the larger the organization and/or the more dysfunctional the organization, the harder it will be and the longer it will take.

Some people will choose to leave and some people will resist to the point they’ll be asked to leave and that’s okay. 

They will be replaced by those who are a better fit for your new culture and your new approach.

Engagement means you’ve earned their trust, which is extremely valuable (and extremely fragile, so don’t blow it!)

Once you’ve inspired engagement – which means you’ve done it by earning it rather than through bribery or other short-term initiatives – your organization will transform along with the lives of the people who support you.

G = Gift With Your Head, Heart, and Hands

Each person approaches philanthropy in their own way. 

Some people, regardless, of their wealth, would take their shirts off their backs and gift them to another person who needs it. 

Other people donate their unwanted/unused clothing and household items to charity. 

Some people write a cheque and others donate their time.

Each of these is great. 

However, there is an even better way to approach philanthropy – and that’s to align your causes with your SHIP and core values and then ask yourself “What is causing the need for philanthropy in the first place?” 

Keep digging until you reach the root of the problem. 

Is homelessness, for example, a result of a crazy expensive real estate market which puts home ownership out of reach while rental accommodation is limited due to the imbalance between wages and market rates for rent? 

Or is it because there isn’t enough rental accommodation?  Or is it because the rental accommodation is being used for short-term vacation rentals rather than for long-term rentals? 

As you pull back the layers of whatever cause you support, you’ll often discover it’s quite complicated but who better than a successful Enlightened Capitalist to bring people together to tackle the root cause using their combined intellect, muscle and desire to impact positive change?

This is where Enlightened Capitalists can make the most far reaching ripples of transformation – by finding the source and tackling the problem from that angle, with input from those affected and by co-creating a solution that truly solves the problem rather than simply stopping the bleed for the moment.

Enlightened Capitalists take what they learn as they transform their culture into one of engagement and high performance and they then transfer this knowledge to their causes.

As they do this, the people who have been impacted receive life lessons, new experiences and a sense of empowerment.  A hand-up versus a hand-out is definitely a better way to impact sustainable transformation.

H = Help Others to Succeed

Leaders help others succeed. 

It’s a simple statement yet it doesn’t happen as easily or often as it should. 

If each person committed to helping one other person succeed, by asking what they need, what their vision is, what their definition of success is, if they’d like help and how they could best be served, imagine what this world would be like.

When we stop thinking in terms of “employees” or “customers” or “shareholders” or “strategic partners” or even “people” and we start thinking in terms of individuals with their own vision, core values, purpose, dreams, ideal day and self-limiting beliefs, we will see them for who they really are.

Humans are complicated and it takes years of earning and retaining trust to see all the sides of an individual, just as it takes years to truly understand oneself.

Take baby steps.  Take giant leaps.  Or find your comfort zone somewhere in between.

Here are some examples of Helping Others to Succeed:

Find a young person who is having trouble getting a job in his/her field and use your network to help them get introduced.  And if you enjoy doing this, please consider joining us in The Guild as this is one of the promises we make to our NextGen Leaders.

Find a single Mom who is struggling and suggest you spend an afternoon together preparing meals for next week while her children play with yours.

Find a senior who is desperately trying to stay independent and offer to help them with some odd jobs they may not be able to do.

Ask individuals in your network and new people you meet to share one thing that they feel they need to achieve their goals OR ask them if there is anything you could help them with (it’s up to you to set your boundaries).

Set up a buddy-system at your workplace so that more experienced individuals are available to mentor newer individuals.

Do the same with individuals in different departments so they can learn different perspectives from each other.

Use coaching as a part of everyday life, rather than a re-direction after an individual makes a mistake.

There are so many ways to help people succeed and not only will it make you feel incredible to have a positive impact on their lives but it will also give the person receiving your help the tools or lessons needed to achieve their definition of success.


T = Transcend Business Results

The more profit you can make, the more you impact you can make.  Increasing your profit while making a better workplace, more environmentally friendly decisions and supporting your philanthropic causes is a goal for most Enlightened Capitalists. Profit is good, greed and destruction are bad.

How do you transcend business results?

We’ve outlined 4 ways above – Living on purpose, Inspiring Engagement, Gifting with Head, Hands, and Heart and Helping Others Succeed.

Each of these forces us to think outside of our own little worlds and to think about how we are all interconnected and how collaborating and co-creating with others will solve the messes we’re dealing with now.

When we change our perspective by looking through a different lens and trying things that we would never have thought to try before, we are going to have some bumps along the way. 

Learning is never as simple as a download and away you go!

However, when we learn what works for us and what doesn’t work, we start to see new patterns.

We see that when our employee engagement increases, so do productivity and financial performance, human performance, environmental performance and societal performance.

We see that when our customer experience improves, our relationship with customers improves and we hear great insights to further improve their experience and reduce the parts they don’t value (and the friction that would cause them to churn.) 

This results in higher customer lifetime value and lowers customer acquisition costs, which increases revenue and profit.

We see that change initiatives fail because we’re forcing them on people and/or giving up on them too soon and/or implementing them in the wrong way and that approaching them from a different angle, with better checks and measures increases the likelihood of success.

We see that when we hold ourselves and each other accountable for producing results, those results materialize.

The common denominators throughout L.I.G.H.T. are that individuals matter, that having a purpose beyond profit at any cost matters, that communication matters, that expectations and accountability matters, that the environment matters, that society matters and that spreading the wealth generated by all people that support your organization matters.

About the Author

Carol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet. She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher purpose.

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