When this happens, it draws employees who want to bring that value to the world, and it connects with constituencies outside the organization who share similar values.
Until now, being driven by a sense of purpose had been more talk than walk. However, with the Internet connecting everybody and everything in real-time, it has become much more possible now.
A good book that captures the zeitgeist of this behavior is titled The 10 Principles of Open Business, by David Cushman. Ketchum’s own social media futurologist, Stephen Waddington, an author in his own right on changes in the social/digital field, contributed to the development of this book as well.
Essentially, the book argues that businesses should move from thinking of others as customers, to thinking of them as partners in achieving a purpose that they all find meaningful in the world.
Of course, this involves a lot of changes in organization structures, most deeply in the mindsets of those involved. The book does a credible job of giving examples of how the 10 principles are being realized by various organizations, including big ones like Tesco in the UK.
It’s interesting to reflect on what the deeper purpose of public relations can have in the world by continually deepening a shared understanding of people’s different perspectives. That makes me wonder, what would happen if we found partners with a purpose like this, and connected with them in the attainment of our organization’s goals?
My own view is that public relations professionals are unfairly stereotyped as “spin doctors.” Perhaps, if we changed our mindset from serving customers, to working with partners to deepen shared understanding in the world, we might take a step in the direction of overcoming that outdated stereotype.
Regardless, I highly recommend you check out the thinking in this book. It’s ahead of the curve and a useful glimpse into the future.