The point about stuff you don’t know, is generally that you don’t know that you don’t know. Which in some cases is kinda okay. However, when it comes to issues lurking in dark corners that have the potential to impact on your ability to trade, most leaders want a torch. They want and need to know what they don’t know. Which is why it is so critical for businesses to adopt purpose-centered business strategies.
The world is changing fundamentally. We also know that this change in in progress… in other words, the change has not finished so we can’t “know” what the final impact of all this change will be. It’s the stuff we don’t know. Whilst we might know that we don’t know, trust me, there will be other stuff that we haven’t even yet begun to think about not knowing!
So what can one do in a situation like this? The best bet is to focus on what we do know and try extract some insight.
Here’s how I see it:
- The days of business as usual are over
- The world is moving to a more sustainable approach to business
- We face massive social, environmental, geopolitical, economic and technological risks
Insight: To differentiate in a market like this, mere compliance is NOT ENOUGH!
The next obvious question is ‘what could be done beyond compliance?’
Simple… bullet proof your business by making yourself indispensable as a result of the positive IMPACT you are making.
Lots of businesses make money. Not a lot of businesses make a tangible, measurable positive impact on the world. The difference lies quite simply in Purpose. 99.9% of businesses out there exist to make the shareholder/s money and in an attempt to carry on making shareholders rich they might write out a fluffy purpose statement, score some B-BBEE points, donate to a CSI project or host staff wellness days, but these are not done because it is the purpose of the business and as a result they are always hollow, meaningless and ineffective in protecting their licence to trade.
True impact only happens when the business strategy is centered on purpose and there will ALWAYS be issues in dark corners when all you care about is money.