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Are Hospitality Leaders considering Purpose in the PostCOVID era?

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

In today's world, companies are facing rapid change. Beyond the ongoing pandemic, organizations are grappling with challenges such as digitization and competition from disruptive new companies. Moreover, the perception and expectations of the relationship between business and society are evolving, trust in brands is declining, and consumer behavior is changing at a rapid pace.

An increasing number of business leaders and experts recognize that a shared sense of purpose can help companies navigate these new challenges and transform their business models. By embedding purpose within their strategy, operating model, culture, internal reporting, and governance, companies can begin by analyzing their relationships with internal and external stakeholders, the social and environmental impact of their business, and their strategy to identify and work on their business purpose.

The goal is to connect to the organizational purpose, which is not something businesses discover, but rather something leaders work on with their team. It is defined as the aspirational reason for being that inspires and provides a call to action for a company, its partners, and stakeholders, and offers benefits to local and global communities.

The power of purpose is evident as the world battles the urgent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses also have an opportunity and moral responsibility to commit to tackling planetary boundaries and community needs.

For a brand to create a strong identity, it must have a powerful internal purpose, and the leadership mindset should go beyond "imaginative structures and services". Here are some aspects to consider during the journey:

  • Internal Speed: This is synonymous with a thriving culture. Many CEOs fear that employees will not be actively engaged. Linking individual purpose to the organizational one is the critical connection. It helps employees bring enthusiasm, creativity, and collaboration to work.

  • Real-Time Data: This is not only about SaaS products for human resources, maintenance programs, CRM, or PMS. It's about acting on data as quickly as possible to correct irresponsible behavior that does not attend to the main organizational purpose, objectives, and strategic plans.

  • Intersectoral Mindset: We must adapt to new trends and understand the new sharing economy built by interconnected communities. Therefore, to have purpose-oriented workplaces, we need to take them into account and see industry changes and business challenges in a more holistic way to offer better solutions.

  • Sustainability as Strategy and DNA: It's about how we operate in every decision from top to bottom. It's not where you spend the profit (e.g., donating to charities), it's about how you earn that profit. Listening and acting on all corporate stakeholders' concerns, to become a net positive and regenerative business model.

  • Sustainable Development Goals: Choose priorities, not what's easier for the company. Identify which of the 17 United Nations goals are a priority for your business and work in those areas, and end all types of practices harmful to the environment or local communities (directly or indirectly caused by business operations).

  • Long-Term Strategy vs. Short-Term Results: Find a balance by providing business results but having a long-term strategy, in which people are at the center of the company, choosing the right KPIs to encourage leaders to guide the company to serve the organizational purpose, because only by doing so will it be profitable in the long term.

Encouraging a company to define and live its purpose consistently challenges the status quo in ways that are unsettling for the workforce as well as for the owners. However, by supporting this change with empathetic leadership, we can develop a broad future vision that inspires and builds trust with colleagues and industry peers. Processes and systems are there to take the thought out of things. There is efficiency to it, but once we rely on the process over the thought it takes the creativity out of the situation.

How to put purpose at the core?

Business leaders have to connect with it emotionally and logically:

  1. Stakeholders

    1. Which areas of the business strategy are most and least consistent with the company’s purpose?

    2. Reflect on how are we creating value and driving progress across ESG factors.

  2. Measure

    1. Analyze the business social and environmental impacts, starting with a review of the supply-chain and supplier risks.

    2. What data do we need to understand the organization’s social and environmental impacts?

    3. What is not currently being reported or measured that society will hold the business accountable for?

    4. What metrics are the business KPI's and management systems taking into account?

  3. Benefits

    1. Financial support. Banks rewarding purposeful business with cheaper capital or access to credit.

    2. Environmental stewardship can reduce costs

    3. Unleash employee potential (boost employee motivation and reduce attrition rates)

    4. Help to identify risks you might otherwise miss

    5. Inspire creative thinking

  4. HR & Development

    1. Making purpose routinely considerations

    2. Does the leadership team have the freedom and incentives to do their work with purpose?

    3. What is the business doing to foster the internal culture?

    4. What educational programs is the business providing for employees?

    5. Work on eliminating bias and elevating consciousness

Purpose is the answer to the question “How is the world a better place by your company being here?”  - Alex Edmans

This is the beginning on how to start to manage your organizational purpose in your business. Do not hesitate to contact us or leave a comment in case you have any question or you want to share your POV.

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