Roger Fairhead Certificate JMT Certified

How to “live usefully”

Living, and making a living … on Purpose

We can choose to be intentional and live usefully; to live our lives “on purpose”, to make a living “on purpose”, and to run our organisations “on purpose”, with a purpose that is greater than simply making a profit or surplus. 

I would rather have it said ‘he lived usefully’
than ‘he died rich’.”

~ Benjamin Franklin.

That expands the two traditional binary categories of business being either For-Profit or Not-For-Profit and adds a third concept of a “Not-Just-For-Profit” or better, a “For-Purpose” company, where the primary purpose of a business, company organisation or corporation is greater than simply generating a profit or surplus.

The business world is starting to wake up to this concept, as shown for example in the rise in the international B-Corporation movement which started in 2006 with the mission to inspire and enable people to use business as a force for good. 

In the UK, the Better Business Act is a business-led campaign with a mission is to change the law to make sure every company in the UK aligns the interests of their shareholders with those of wider society and the environment.  Three quarters of the UK public think business has a responsibility to protect the environment and the majority favour brands that do good in the world.

It’s also evident in the US where a recently revised statement on the purpose of a corporation by the Business Roundtable was issued just before the Covid pandemic began.

In 2019 The Business Roundtable issued a statement that moves away from their traditionally held view of “Shareholder Primacy” and they now include a commitment to delivering long-term value to all stakeholders including: customers, employees, suppliers and communities, as well as shareholders.  This statement redefines the purpose of a corporation to, “… Promote An Economy That Serves All Americans” and this statement has been signed by 181 Business Roundtable CEOs, leaders of some of the largest businesses in the world.

It states that … We commit to:

No longer is maximising shareholder value the only motive and mantra for business; instead, there is a growing trend supporting and promoting a view that there is a purpose to business beyond simply making a profit.

It’s almost as if the old model of doing business has burned down in recent years, and it’s now time to rebuild … on Purpose.

If your house burned down,
would you re-build the same house?  

My house was built in 1906, and since then it has seen the need for supplies of gas and electricity, running water and indoor toilets, a garage and a driveway.  For example, electricity didn’t start to become commonplace in English homes until the 1930s and 1940s, when it began to be standard equipment in new house builds, and garages (or motor houses as they were first called) didn’t start to become part of the initial design for new build properties until the 1950s.

If my house burned down, I would want to have it rebuilt in a similar style and layout, after all that’s why we bought the house and we like it that way.  However, we would also want to accommodate some different features to incorporate the changes in life and lifestyle that have appeared since it was originally built.  

The changes in life and lifestyle that are affecting us include the effects of the recent pandemic, including the move to working from home and understanding “work-life fit” where employees (where they are able) are encouraged to weave personal and professional obligations together throughout the day while attempting to maintain their wellbeing; the trends away from the daily commute to a crowded city centre offices; and the associated demise of city centre snacking and dining areas, and the decline in high street shopping areas as we’ve known them.  

They also include the changes of sustainability currently sweeping through society including, for example, environmental sustainability with the move to renewable fuel sources for power generation and transport, social sustainability, where there’s an increased focus on diversity and equal opportunity in all its forms, and the global sustainability challenges arising from overcrowded countries introducing limitations on our food supplies.   

What’s the difference?

To apply that metaphor to the way we live our lives, the first thing we need to do is to make sure that we understand the underlying purpose of our endeavours: our ‘Why’, as Simon Sinek calls it.  In today’s world, clients, colleagues, and customers alike are becoming increasingly intolerant of companies and careers without a cause.  They want to know what difference you want to make, and what makes you different from other organisations; they want to know your purpose.  Do you know yours?

I’m about to embark on writing a series of books which all have their focus on purpose, because PRIZE Winning Leadership is all about helping difference makers make a difference … on purpose.

Helping difference makers make a difference
… on purpose!

~ Roger Fairhead

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.

He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.