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Exclusive: Leaders Need the Will to Pursue Purpose. They Also Need the Skill –



Leaders Need the Will to Pursue Purpose. They Also Need the Skill

#Leaders #Pursue #Purpose #Skill

It’s proxy season again, and as The Economist recently observed, “Annual meetings are the new frontline in the battle over corporate purpose.” But although activist shareholders are pushing leaders harder than ever to run their businesses in enlightened ways that deliver for all stakeholders, it won’t be enough on its own to deliver more purposeful business practices. For that, we need something more: a wholesale shift in how leaders approach purpose.

To be sure, few companies today deliver broadly on their purposes. In 2019, the Business Roundable, a group of CEOs from America’s biggest companies, issued a formal statement on “The Purpose of a Corporation” in which it pledged a commitment to a multi-stakeholder view of business. But a year after the roundtable’s statement, in the midst of the pandemic, most big companies didn’t seem to have departed much from business as usual, changing their policies to benefit employees or other diverse stakeholders as well as investors. As the Washington Post reported in late 2020, many of the country’s 50 biggest companies earned profits even as a majority of them laid off employees. Further, as a more recent Brookings Institute report observed, only a fraction of the nation’s largest employers now pay their workers a living wage, even as shareholders have profited fabulously.

We might presume that this disappointing track record reflects a lack of will on the part of business leaders. Certainly, it does. But it also reflects a lack of skill. As my field research inside companies has suggested, companies fail to deliver on a multi-stakeholder approach for a simple reason: despite reams written on the subject, the vast majority of leaders still don’t know how to embed purpose more broadly inside their organizations.

Not all companies have underperformed when it comes to purpose. I’ve gone inside a select group of companies that practice what I call “deep purpose.” Firms like Etsy and Gotham Greens actually walk the talk, embracing purpose as a foundational operating principle and embedding it throughout their organizations to structure decision-making and work processes. Etsy made commitments in three areas related to its purpose (diversity, environmental responsibility, and empowering people), reporting publicly on its progress. Gotham Greens has embraced a revolutionary business model that reinvents agriculture to be both more sustainable and supportive of local communities.

Based on my extensive field research on purpose, I learned what it looks like to foster a sense of true purpose at work. And as became immediately obvious, it’s much different than standard practice at most firms.

How do you embed purpose? First, you infuse the purpose with historical depth. Leaders often presume that if we come up with high-minded language, they’ll inspire others. In truth, words themselves usually carry little meaning on their own. Employees often find purpose more authentic when leaders connect it with history, and when they tell powerful, credible stories about the purpose’s rationale and impact. Toymaker LEGO did this to memorable effect as part of its extraordinary revival during the 2000s, connecting its purpose back to its founder’s founding spirit inscribed in the phrase, “only the best is good enough.” Employees became more invested in the company’s success, even to the point of holding leaders accountable for living up to LEGO’s historic values.

Second, purpose seems more genuine when leaders make it personal. Leaders often articulate a purpose for organizations, forgetting that employees have personal purposes of their own. Companies like Microsoft that explicitly tie the organization’s purpose to those of employees have an easier time bringing the purpose alive in employees’ daily work. Microsoft did that in part by creating a forum called Microsoft Life that celebrate employees, their personal missions, and their work at the company.

Third, and most critically, a sense of true purpose emerges at work when companies rewire their enterprises around purpose. Leaders often regard purpose in a limited way as either a marketing or human resources exercise. Companies like the global professional services firm EY that go deepest with purpose take a much more comprehensive approach, treating purpose as an operating system and embedding it in processes, organizational structures, and culture. EY adopted a system of metrics to spur behaviors associated with its purpose. “Companies really have to be able to show what they’re doing,” EY’s CEO Carmine Di Sibio told me. “They get into trouble when they talk a lot about purpose and it’s just talk.” Imagine what it feels like when everything about your work ties back in clear, even obvious ways to the purpose. That’s what employees at deep purpose companies experience on the job.

Fourth, a sense of true purpose emerges when leaders forge and execute purposeful strategies. At deep purpose companies, strategy follows from purpose, not the other way around. Further, in executing strategy, leaders lean in to the inevitable tradeoffs that emerge between social and commercial priorities. At companies like ETSY, purpose becomes a way to navigate between conflicting stakeholders and time-horizons. During its turnaround during the 2010s, ETSY made a set of difficult changes, including layoffs, designed to improve both its financial performance and its ability to deliver on its purpose. Over the long term all stakeholders benefitted, including employees. Employees understood the need to sacrifice on behalf of the purpose and their engagement remained exceptionally high; in 2019, 96 percent of those surveyed expressed pride in the company.


Embedding purpose deeply is difficult, but leaders should remember the business value of pursuing a multistakeholder approach. Employees and customers increasingly expect companies to address social issues. And research has consistently shown strong links between purpose and performance dimensions such as growth, profitability, and innovation. Leaders must go deeper on purpose not simply because it is the right thing to do, but because their companies’ future success hinges on it. 

It’s encouraging that some CEOs–68 percent of those queried in one survey–are placing “more emphasis” on purpose. It’s also encouraging, as I’ve noted, that activist shareholders are doing so too. But that’s not enough. For the purpose to feel genuine and meaningful, leaders must take a new approach to embedding it in their organizations. They must live it in their daily work, hold others accountable for acting in ways congruent with that purpose, and bring the purpose alive for their workforce.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of


Exclusive: Rezonate raises $8.7M and launches its cloud identity protection platform out of stealth –




Rezonate raises $8.7M and launches its cloud identity protection platform out of stealth

#Rezonate #raises #87M #launches #cloud #identity #protection #platform #stealth

Rezonate, a Boston- and Tel Aviv-based startup that offers an agent-less cloud identity protection platform that aims to help DevOps teams minimize attackers’ opportunities to breach cloud identity and access, is coming out of stealth today and announcing an $8.7 million seed funding round, led by State of Mind Ventures and Flybridge, with participation from toDay Ventures, Merlin Ventures and a number of angel investors.

Founded in January 2022, Rezonate is part of a group of modern identity and access management (IAM) startups that aim to modernize the current state of affairs in this space, which is struggling to meet the demands of modern cloud infrastructure systems. This shift is creating new attack surfaces, especially as enterprises move to the cloud — and more dynamic infrastructure systems — at an ever-increasing rate. The number of security breaches stemming from issues with identity and access management is already on the rise. Indeed, Gartner expects that by 2023, “75% of security failures will result from inadequate management of identities, access, and privileges.”

Image Credits: Rezonate

Co-founder and CEO Roy Akerman was previously the head of the Israeli Cyberdefense Operations, while Rezonate co-founder and CTO Ori Amiga previously led R&D for this unit. Both received the Medal of Honor for their contributions to Israel’s National Security.

“The rapidly-changing cloudscape together with the proliferation of human and machine identities requires a different approach,” said Akerman. “Modern infrastructures require a precise and nimble way to outsmart attackers. One that prioritizes cloud identities and access at its core and is constantly adapting to current dynamics over yesterday’s snapshots and, for the first time, gives defenders and builders the means to act confidently.”

Image Credits: Rezonate

Rezonate promises to discover all of a company’s cloud and identity providers and the corresponding access privileges of its employees. The platform automatically detects security gaps and abnormal access attempts in real time. Rezonate promises that within minutes of deploying its solution, its platform can identify cloud identity and access risks and provide guidance for remediating them, or even automatically remove access and terminate sessions.

At the core of all of this is what Rezonate calls its ‘Identity Storyline,’ which aims to provide DevOps and security teams with a context-rich dashboard that helps them understand the security risk across a company’s cloud estate. With this, users get an easy-to-read dashboard that clearly lays out what kind of access every user has — and where there are potential issues.


“The fact that in just ten months from our first line of code we already have active customers, solving key gaps daily, affirms the criticality of the cloud identity and access issue. In a cloud world where everything is changing all of the time, DevOps teams need a solution as dynamic and automated as the infrastructure they need to protect is,” said Amiga.

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Exclusive: Building a Prospecting Motion: How to Outreach Like a Pro –




Building a Prospecting Motion: How to Outreach Like a Pro

#Building #Prospecting #Motion #Outreach #Pro

The core responsibility of business development is to generate a pipeline of new business opportunities. For teams looking to close new customers, this work is indispensable.


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Exclusive: 5 things to know before the stock market opens Tuesday –




5 things to know before the stock market opens Tuesday

#stock #market #opens #Tuesday

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 5, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Rough start

Stocks got off on the wrong foot this week with an ugly selloff Monday as investors weighed strong new economic data that stoked worries of sustained rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. The Dow dropped more than 480 points, while the S&P 500 declined 1.79% and the Nasdaq fell 1.93%. When it meets next week, the Fed’s policy-setting committee is expected to raise its benchmark rate by half a percentage point, which is less than the three-quarter-point hikes of the past few months but still sizable. Smith & Wesson and Stitch Fix earnings are set to hit after the bell Tuesday. Read live market updates here.

2. Salesforce slumps

Bret Taylor, co-chief executive officer of Inc., right, and Marc Benioff, co-chief executive officer of Inc., wear rabbit ears during a keynote at the 2022 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.

Marlena Sloss | Bloomberg | Getty Images

3. Most Ford dealers sign up for EV plan

4. Biden touts Arizona chip investment

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks prior to signing railroad legislation into law, providing a resoluton to avert a nationwide rail shutdown, during a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 2, 2022. 

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

5. Russia ratchets up missile attacks

A building burns after shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on December 4, 2022, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yevhen Titov | Afp | Getty Images

And one more thing …

Actress Kirstie Alley

Noam Galai | Wireimage | Getty Images

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