Great Reads for Purpose-Driven Leaders

In my reading, I seek out stories about companies and executives working to build high performing companies and a better world. It’s encouraging to see more and more research and progress on these themes.  Indeed, a movement is building amongst CEOs to bridge trust between companies, society, and government.  

I curated several articles and I hope you find them inspiring in your own journey as a leader to create a better company and a better world.  


CEOs Now Believe Their Customers Are Expecting a Higher Sense of Purpose

According to research recently released by PWC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, CEOs “believe that over the next five years, a greater number of customers will seek out products and services from organizations that address wider stakeholder needs, like health focus or environmental responsibility or societal consequences.” Dan Pontefract describes the sometime bumpy evolution to “purpose first” business and companies that are changing thinking and behaviors for success for the greater good.

How to Create a Culture Manifesto for Your Organization (And Why It’s a Good Idea)

Powerful lessons from Method Products, Etsy and Warby Parker on culture. Strong mission statements have long guided nonprofit organizations. But mission statements usually focus on external goals rather than internal ways of working. To shape an organization’s internal organizational atmosphere—and to attract talent—nonprofits, social enterprises, and benefit corporations (or B Corps) should consider developing a culture manifesto.

You Get the Investors You Deserve   
Center for Higher Ambition Leadership

While many executives complain about “quarterly capitalism,” research presented by Harvard Business School Associate Professor George Serafeim suggests that executives themselves may be the cause. Mette Norgaard recaps breakout discussions at the Center’s recent CEO Summit around this research and how CEOs influence short-term vs. long-term thinking around their companies.

The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World
Harvard Business Review

In a study of 195 leaders in 15 countries over 30 global organizations participants were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies.  The highest rated attributes, including top rated “strong ethics and safety,” are about creating a safe and trusting environment. A leader with high ethical standards conveys a commitment to fairness, instilling confidence that both they and their employees will honor the rules of the game. 

4 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis

What can business leaders take away from recent words by the pontiff? A focus on mercy, compassion, respect and care of our environment. Making money is important for a business, but not if it comes at the expense of others, or the Earth. 

From Major Purpose to Major Profits: 5 Business Strategies Every Mission-Driven Entrepreneur Needs that Helped One Company Achieve Massive Success
Huffington Post

You don’t have to be a nonprofit company to have a strong purpose that impacts the world. Five principles from SoapBox Soaps CEO David Simnick. Start where you are, stay true to your values, and fuel your mission with your passion.

Trust Building: Insights from Doug Conant
Center for Higher Ambition Leadership

How can CEOs actively build trust-based relationships with stakeholders? Douglas Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company shares his practice of declaring himself at the start of a working relationship. Being transparent up front ensures both parties are clear up front on expectations so they can work most constructively together.