In October 2014 I spoke at the Thought Leader Global conference in Amsterdam on strategy execution. My topic came at the end of the day, on sustainability at the heart of strategy, making the point that as well as execution, there was the “why” of strategy. I was delighted with the feedback provided. Interestingly, out of the 30 minutes I spoke, it was just one phrase that hit home the most: “What would the world lack if my company did not exist?”
What really resonated among this group of senior strategists sharing their best practice on strategy execution was the notion of purpose and meaning – why exactly are they executing their strategies? In the informal discussions that followed, what came up regularly was the need for a sense of meaning in the purpose of an organisation. Developing a sustainable strategy that includes preserving the planet and fulfilling a social purpose seems to have hit a chord.