Customers and employees are looking to the business world to tackle some of the biggest issues on the planet.

And in light of this, it follows that the potential to be profitable whilst doing good is bigger than ever.

ORDINARY BUSINESS

Can be household names we admire. They can be global powerhouses that relentlessly innovate and steel a march on competitors. They can treat their people and customers fantastically. They care about their wider impact in the world. They are seen to be successful.

So why do they do all the above? Because they care most of all about their shareholders.

EXTRAORDINARY BUSINESS

Extraordinary businesses achieve radical success by being a force for good in the world. They do this by putting a higher purpose at the centre of who they are. In this way they are breaking the rules of business. As a result, they are developing ground-breaking ways to meet their purpose, serve the customer, and lead the market.
By working out how they benefit people’s lives these companies win their customers’ hearts and minds as well as becoming the places everyone wants to work.

 

A Story of Extraordinary Business
Geoff McDonald, head of Bridge’s Purposeful Business Practice, spent his last 5 years of a 25 year career at Unilever working with Paul Polman  (CEO and prime architect of Unilever’s purpose and strategy) and Keith Weed (the Head of Marketing, Sustainability and Communications) leading the refining and embedding of  Unilever’s Purpose – Making Sustainable Living Commonplace – into the heart of the business. Arguably Unilever is the first global, publicly listed company to take such a direct stance on how its future profitability and growth is intimately linked with delivering its higher order purpose, manifested in the sustainable living plan. In this context Geoff McDonald was at the center of Unilever delivering some extraordinary early results from a social, environmental and business performance perspective. Understanding what it takes to build a truly audacious purpose that totally integrates purpose and performance has helped Geoff appreciate just how disconnected most organisational purposes are from their core commercial strategies. Brands like Dove and Lifebouy have become remarkable movements for change, with a very specific role in driving the outcomes of the Sustainable Living Plan. Doing this whilst helping to grow the business in an ever more competitive landscape is where much of Unilever’s breakthrough thinking has taken root. The challenge of building wider leadership advocacy beyond the architects of the purpose has been a fascinating and vital element of the journey and is another area that is generally either under invested in, or done in a way that creates intellectual buy-in rather than deep conviction and a preparedness to change how we think about what it means to run a truly purposeful business. The heavy lifting of embedding purpose into all aspects of organizational life is the unglamorous but essential element of the change that takes time, planning and resilience. The need for some significant business process re engineering; the importance of enhanced governance structures to measure and monitor progress; and much more radical and balanced ways of developing leaders and measuring organisational performance all required new solutions that often flew in the face of contemporary wisdom. The Unilever business is well on its way to this transformation and a number of measures show that this has been of benefit to Unilever. The share price has almost doubled since 2009, engagement scores are up from 55% to mid eighties and Unilever is now the third most in demand employer, behind Google and Apple globally (Linkedin 2014). A huge transformation with improved business performance in 4 years. Geoff McDonald wanted to take this insight and experience and apply it to show organisations how they could be a powerful force for good, become amazing places to work that attract the very best people and deliver radical success.
A Story of Extraordinary Business
Purpose-led transformation BRIDGE co-created 'Project Diamond' with Lindt UK in order to inspire a purpose-led business step change. Project Diamond challenged the leadership talent at every level to unlock the commercial and cultural value of 'Making People Feel Special' - a truly game-changing organisational purpose. Two million special moments We set the audacious objective of creating 2 million special family moments, inspiring 2 million acts of kindness and encouraging 2 million ‘minutes for ourselves’. This sense of purpose made the entire business feel like part of a movement for lasting change. In short, Project Diamond helped Lindt’s leaders understand the transformational power of making people feel special again. Closer to what special really means BRIDGE took Lindt’s people out of the workplace and introduced them to a cocktail of extraordinary real life experiences, bringing them closer to what special could really mean. Just one example of this was NACRO’s education programme, where Lindt’s leaders mentored young people from difficult backgrounds to help them see themselves and the world in a new way. Commercial advantage Since Project Diamond, Lindt has spotted more talent from within and promoted people faster (30% uplift). Lindt is an even better place to work (0% leadership attrition) and has driven its business forward by illuminating the link between its purpose and its future commercial success.

Principles underpinning this journey
Extraordinary businesses achieve radical success by being a force for good in the world, these principles underpin how we journey with you.

WE PUT PURPOSE AT THE VERY HEART OF HOW YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS AND MAKE YOUR MONEY.

To truly live and embed the purpose it must be viewed primarily as a driver for the growth, profitability and long-term sustainability of the organisation. Unilever is a great example; their purpose is leading their brands to enhance the self-esteem of millions of women globally and reduce millions of childhood deaths from diarrhoea.“Bridge has helped us to take our purpose (to make people feel special) from the office wall into the real world. They have helped us to see the link between purpose and business success.

We now have a deep commitment to make our people and customers feel special and this is building a remarkable business.”

WE HELP YOU RECONNECT TO YOUR HERITAGE AND EXAMINE YOUR FUTURE.

Bridge will help you craft a truly authentic and inspiring purpose that is unique to you. Our 4 stage journey of digging, inspiring, refining and engaging takes you back to your roots whilst also looking at the future needs of your customers and society. This will inspire, redefine and reinvigorate your current purpose or create a new one.
Ultimately, this builds meaning into the heart work. 

WE MAKE SURE YOU DON’T CONFUSE AN AUDACIOUS PURPOSE WITH A VIRTUOUS PURPOSE

We applaud those companies that make money and then look to spend it to ‘do good’ through their CSR or Sustainability teams. Whilst this is a virtuous purpose, it is fragile.
Once a business makes a direct correlation between its purpose, its competitive advantage, its strategic choices and its business model, then all activity will both serve its purpose and make it money. This is audacious. It demands courage. and unlocks unprecedented levels of innovation, creativity and engagement.“I think one of the most misunderstood things about business is that people are either doing things for altruistic reasons or they are greedy and selfish—just after profit. That type of dichotomy portrays a false image of business… The whole idea is to do both.”  JOHN MACKEY, WHOLEFOODS

WE MAKE IT A DEEPLY PERSONAL AND INSPIRING JOURNEY.

Leadership advocacy is vital. Yet many leaders need to be shown how purpose can be central to long term business success. It is a process of re-education and inspiration, NOT merely engaging communication and branding.“We’ve been inspired by the business that are most purposeful. We want our people to also be inspired by a sense of purpose here at ANZ in that same heartfelt manner – hence our partnership with Bridge.” ANITA, ANZ

WE KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO EMBED AN ‘AUDACIOUS PURPOSE’ AND OPERATIONALISE BECOMING AN EXTRAORDINARY BUSINESS

Our Practice Director worked in the heart of Unilever, with responsibility for embedding purpose in the business. He has developed a simple model that pinpoints what it takes to embed purpose into the fabric of a company. And to show how purpose helps to power the business on a day-to-day basis. 
When BRIDGE can help you:
If you don’t have a clear purpose.
If you have a purpose but you want to challenge, retune and make it audacious.
If you have a perpetually audacious purpose but you are not unlocking its true power and value.
CREATING YOUR AUDACIOUS PURPOSE
4 step process

‘Dig’
Many organisations have a deep sense of purpose embedded in their history. We help you find the best of your past and connect this to a compelling view of the future.
This work is complemented by analysis of market trends, societal challenges, business strategy, and interviews with leaders to unearth your company’s contribution to the world.
‘Inspire’
We will work with you to design a series of remarkably powerful immersion experiences that add insight, texture and emotion to help illuminate a purpose you’re passionate about.
We will expose your team to pioneering companies and challenger brands. Learning lessons and taking inspiration from global businesses like Unilever and Olam. We will also bring into view the radical ideas of the challenger brands inside and beyond your industry.
Bridge also create ways to help you to hear the views and opinions of future consumers and communities – in ways that will reframe the way you think about your business future.
‘Refine’
Bridge will work with you to ‘road test’ a number of substantively different purpose statements with a significant cross section of the organisation. In this way we help people understand the profound significance of selecting one purpose over another.
‘Craft’
Bridge helps you co-create and craft the final purpose statement. From here, we will inspire your teams to develop a narrative, media and events that will truly do your purpose justice.
Ultimately, your purpose becomes meaningful when it inspires true followership and pride. Together, we will develop a purpose launch and execution plan that will grab the hearts and minds of the whole organization, starting with the senior leadership.

DEVELOPING PURPOSE-INSPIRED LEADERSThere is no point developing an audacious purpose if you fail to create leadership advocacy. Bridge supports you to establish a guiding coalition that is driven to build tomorrow’s purposeful business.
We have a 2 step process tailored to your business:
Inspire & Apply
Inspire – We create a deep emotional commitment to an audacious purpose by helping people experience its impact.
There are two elements to the inspire stage. Firstly, a highly personalised one-to-one experience that connects leaders with their personal purpose.
Secondly, we develop a series of inspiring experiences that show how the company’s future purpose can influence the lives of consumers and communities. Once people see its relevance their depth of commitment to this purpose is transformed exponentially. They are now ready to lead.

Apply
Our innovation laboratories help you plan the early experiments and innovations that show how your purpose unlocks new ways of doing great business.
We identify a range of small-scale innovation projects that demonstrate the link between your purpose and its contribution to your business – ranging from product innovation, consumer loyalty through to staff engagement.
These projects create the powerful stories and proof points that demonstrate the link between purpose and profitability in a way that nothing else can.

PUTTING PURPOSE AT THE VERY HEART OF HOW YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS
We have identified seven interconnected areas that together enable an audacious purpose to be embedded in the DNA of the organisation. Our practice director spent the last four years at Unilever working directly with Paul Polman, learning how to turn the theory into reality. Only when purpose shapes the operational realities does it get genuine traction in the business.
COMMUNICATING AND ENGAGING EMPLOYEES
Every organisation is different, therefore, we will undertake an audit to establish the most effective communication tools and channels – typically it looks like this:
i. Write the story
We will work with you to write a narrative that links the purpose to the past, present and future – this increases levels of understanding inside the business.
ii. Create a film
Develop the story into film – an essential in any internal communications plan because it inspires and communicates quickly and deeply.
iii. Immersion event
We will co-create a ‘purpose and me’ event to allow each employee to investigate what the refreshed purpose means for them. This is likely to be an experiential event that provides the context for change.
iv. Customer journey
Bridge will help you to run customer journey workshops to assess the operational impact of the purpose. Actions recorded, change communicated and operations plans amended.
v. Brand manual & operations plan
All content generated in stages 3 and 4 imported into “How to be” and “How to do” brand book and operations plan. This acts as an ongoing reference point and planning tool.
vi. Hot spots, regular updates and monthly summary
We will work with your communications team to design a number of set pieces across the business (based on an audit undertaken at the start of the process). We will help you to identify how to use spaces, objects and technology to find ways of refreshing interest and understanding.
DEVELOPING INSPIRATIONAL STRATEGY
Inspiring a new world view to develop breakthrough strategic capability.
Extraordinary businesses think very differently about the way they enter the future. They look at the world as it will be, then see how they can make a dramatic and positive impact for both customers and society at large. Head and heart are very much in evidence in shaping the future strategy.
Yet for many senior leaders there is significant unlearning that has to happen if they are to create truly inspired strategies. Today’s strategy has evolved into science dominated by dry rational analysis. Whilst genuine strategic breakthroughs tend to rely on a significant burning platform, or a classical version of customer insight.
We believe there is a better way. Complementing these classical disciplines with a deeply inspiring experience that shows people the world as it will be. This, allied to a way of exploring the issues that really matter, help us look well beyond the obvious – probably areas that our competitors are already thinking about.  We help unlock a very different type of strategic gene that lies dormant in most businesses – this leads to inspirational business or brand strategy.
We unlock this capability in your key strategic leaders.
BUILDING EXTRAORDINARY HR FUNCTIONS
As businesses look to find much more deeply purposeful ways of driving lasting success, the role of HR becomes pivotal. There is no function that is better placed to help an organisation work out what it will take to truly transform its purpose. A purpose that unlocks the leadership will to drive a profound and lasting culture change.

Additionally, many of the core businesses processes that shape people’s attitudes, focus and ultimately behaviour lie in the hands of HR. Developing a function that wants to build an extraordinary business demands leadership, courage and creativity, redefining the value of HR.
Our ground breaking research on ‘Insight Led HR’ and our work with pioneering leaders in HR means that we have a very different way of looking at the development of this uniquely placed role. Extraordinary HR functions are powerful change agents in the quest to build purposeful businesses – in this way HR can rewrite its own purpose.