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Awards to transform society3rd July 2012 by Amanda Long
'If we're mindful of the people that we never see;
That's the difference between business and legacy'
The words of George The Poet - an inspired young up and coming performer from North-West London talked about sustainability and transforming business in a fresh and exciting way last week at the Annual BiTC Responsible Business Awards. His contribution set the tone for a great night. Held at the new venue of Old Billingsgate Market the occasion hosted and celebrated a stellar cast of businesses who get this agenda and are acting on it. I was impressed at the tangible energy in the room and the sense of community and purpose among the businesses there. Advanced initiatives and embedded thinking were evident in the case studies of many of the winners. For a full list of winners and runners up and case studies visit www.bitc.org.uk
BiTC should be congratulated for its success in convening and galvinising the fragments and components that make up such a powerful community. Truly transforming business and society. Huge congratulations to Marks and Spencer's Plan A which topped the bill winning Company of the Year - definitely a worthy choice and also most timely. To drive this movement on and take it to scale businesses will need to step out of the 'shadow of the building' and face customer behaviour change in earnest. M&S, having made superb measurable progress with Plan A and now turning its attention to engaging with customer behavioural change at scale is in the hot seat to do this (See 'Swhopping' blog). Company of the Year is the perfect platform to lead from!
Barclays, company beliefs and sustainable business success2nd July 2012 by John Drummond
On the back of the news that Barclays has been fined £291m by regulators, do we think big companies have genuinely learned from the recession and are exploring new business models?
Around 2009/10, Barclays strategy was defined on their website in this way: “…to achieve good growth through time by diversifying its business base and increasing in markets and segments that are growing rapidly.” There was no sign of benefits to customers or communities and no purpose statement.
Today, in their most recent annual report, they have a purpose statement: To help individuals, institutions and economies progress and grow.” And a vision: “One of the premier globally integrated universal banks providing superior benefits to each of our stakeholders (customers, shareholders, colleagues, and communities).”
But what do the actions of their employees suggest about their beliefs? I’m not close enough to know.
What I do know is that the unsustainable business model has a different belief system from the sustainable business model.
In an unsustainable business model, a CEO believes:
- our core driver is our financial performance quarter by quarter and year by year
- we should manage risks that are barriers to this ambition
- the role of employees is to sell more products andservices as efficiently and profitably as possible
- reward is based on short-term financial success
In a sustainable business, a CEO believes:
- our core driver is short, medium and long-term success
- our core purpose is linked to customer benefit
- the company needs to act to create a strong sustainable marketplace
- reward is based on short, medium and long-term success
It’s interesting that the Barclays news is on the day that M&S once again win the Company of the Year in the Business in the Community Awards for Excellence (see http://www.bitc.org.uk/awards_for_excellence/awards_for_excellence_winne…)
At the stakeholder event to look at five years of Plan A last week, senior M&S executives shared their progress and were open to question by a wide range of stakeholders. They invited challenge. Is there a comparison to be made between the Barclays approach and the M&S approach? Are there different belief systems at play?
June 28, 2012