Going beyond the why and what of purpose-led business, this book sets out an innovative business model of how to lead and operate a company to deliver its purpose.
Western capitalism is in crisis due to the growing disconnect between business and society, and there are growing calls for a shift from the primacy of shareholder value to the primacy of purpose. But there is a paucity of codified best practice for how CEOs should go about making this shift. Enter Alan Barlow: a CEO practitioner who demonstrates with analytical rigor and evidence-based argument a business model for how CEOs can actually deliver a purpose-defined company that yields both bigger benefits for society and bigger profits for the business.
Current and aspiring business leaders and executives will benefit from not only this new business model but also a fully documented route map for monitoring and reviewing successful impact, and highly focused non-financial and financial metrics for benchmarking. Completing the loop for ‘company purpose’ means that business can become a force for good for society.
Table of Contents
1. THE CHALLENGE: Responding to the increasing disconnect between business and society; 2. THE 'WHY'?: The need to redefine the nature and purpose of a company; 3. THE 'WHAT'?: A paradigm shift from the primacy of shareholder value to the primacy of purpose; 4. THE 'HOW'?: Implement the 'Heightened Integrity Model'; - Governance, delivery, and performance; - Heightened integrity: the hub of the model; - The business model; 5. DEMONSTRATION: Application of the model to the case study multinational corporation; - The case study corporation; - The business model; Enabling processes:; Purpose; Stakeholders; Integrity /compliance; Delivery processes:; Leadership; Staff; Feedback; 6. VERIFICATION: Successful benchmarking of the model against third party best practice:; - Purpose: Behavioural principles:; Being a responsible and responsive employer; Being honest and fair with customers and suppliers; Being a guardian for future generations; Being a good citizen; - Purpose: Great place to work; - Purpose: Measurable business payoffs; - Wider applicability of the model; 7. DELIVERED: Bigger benefits for society and bigger profits for business; 8. RECONNECTING: A growing range of programmes and legislation for reconnecting business with society:; - Believer companies; - Believer proclaimers; - Believer investors; - Purpose-based legislation; - Third party assessment and ranking; 9. RESOLUTION: For society, and for a company; Appendix: The Group's business model
Alan Barlow, formerly CEO, multinational chemical engineering group; Director, FTSE 100/NYSE listed energy group; and Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has over 25 years’ P&L experience encompassing Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and India.
Nominated: Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Awards, 2021
"Purpose Delivered is a most important book that, rightly, articulates the urgent case for a reorientation of how many business leaders need to think in order to help capitalism rediscover a better purpose, and with it, more desperately needed legitimacy. But in Alan’s case, it is written by someone who was walked the walk and not just talked the talk."
Lord Jim O’Neill, Chairman Chatham House. Formerly chairman Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Commercial Secretary to the UK Treasury
"There is no doubt the case for an organisation to be Purpose-led has never been stronger. In this very important book, Alan sets out the ways organisations can enact purpose, including why CEOs need to take ownership of the agenda and the value of metrics that help to evaluate the success of an organisation in delivering on its purpose. A timely and thought provoking read."
Kevin Ellis, Chairman PricewaterhouseCoopers
"Just imagine if each individual, community, business and government truly lived a ‘purpose’ that has benefit to society, with integrity…sounds like a system with compound positive interest! A dream, or an intent that needs a plan? Here we have an excellent analytical framework, a case study multinational and illuminating examples from personal CEO experience that demonstrate the way forward for us and for business. Thank you, Alan."
Gail Klintworth, Chair Integrity Action. Formerly, Global Chief Sustainability Officer Unilever
"Alan’s CEO practitioner experience in how to deliver a purpose-driven business is clearly demonstrated, analytically and practically, in his book. When presenting to our MBA students, he opens their eyes to the challenges and returns from delivering a purpose-defined company. He is an ideal educator for the new generation of leaders of what business should be: responsible, accountable and caring."
Ewa Maciejewski, Vice Director University of St Gallen Business School, Switzerland
"The shareholder maximisation model is now broken. Alan makes a powerful case for purpose-driven companies. And, based on his CEO experience, he sets out and demonstrates a practical business model on how to make it happen. This is a book whose time has come. A must read."
J. Rajagopal, CEO & executive coach. Formerly, Global Head Tata Consultancy Services. India
"As business migrates its rationale from a primary focus on shareholder value to embrace wider society goals, to include the environment, employees, suppliers and customers, a blue print for ‘How’ is critically needed. In his book, Dr Barlow, provides the guiding principles and route map to achieve this. And, more importantly, shows how he, as a CEO, applied them. I particularly liked the concept of developing a ranking index for FTSE / NYSE companies in terms of the extent to which they are purpose-driven. This is a must read and is a major contribution to this subject area."
Eric Anstee, Pleural Non-Executive Director. Formerly, CEO of The Institute for Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
"… a critically important strategic and practical guide to doing the right thing for the right reason for society, while also ensuring corporate financial sustainability… demonstrates a practical business model for the "how to", with key components and steps to be taken… with financial and non-financial metrics for leadership to monitor and review performance in delivering the company’s purpose… I wish every CEO and Board Chair on the planet would heed this advice – imagine what a difference that would make in the world."
Denise McNerney, President American Association for Strategic Planning, CEO iBossWell Inc
"… informed, insightful and challenging… it should be read by all CEOs, advisers and investors for effectively establishing and future proofing viable and sustainable companies of the future."
John Handley, Chairman portfolio of private equity owned companies
"Alan Barlow’s Purpose Delivered couldn’t be more timely and useful… is timely because expectations for corporate purpose have intensified amidst the multiple disruptions that challenge business to contribute more directly to society. It’s useful because it explains and demonstrates the why, what and how as matters both of principle and practice. Alan Barlow is a reliable, credible guide because he has delivered the goods – for business and society – as a successful CEO."
Bennett Freeman, Principal Bennett Freeman Associates. Formerly, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
"For company boards, delivering purpose is becoming a requirement, not a nice-to-have. The dominant values in society are changing as millennials are gaining political and economic traction at the expense of boomers. The challenge for company boards is how to define and run a purpose-defined company when purpose goes beyond financial returns. Impact investors, and the ESG movement, have not yet found the answer. In this book, Alan Barlow sets out both a practical framework for defining a purpose-led company across four types of capital that impact investors would recognise. He also, importantly, shows how to operationalise that framework in practice in the way that business processes are implemented, decisions are taken and transparency is provided to all stakeholders. This is an important contribution that should be read by all company boards."
Dr Richard Foster, External member of the Investment Board University of Cambridge. Formerly, Managing Director Morgan Stanley
"This is rare: not only a book on corporate purpose that majors on the ‘how’, but one based on lived experience. Alan draws effectively on his CEO career to demonstrate the case for a new core competence needed to deliver purpose, a competence based around the concept of ‘heightened integrity’. The book is full of pragmatic examples and tools, and enlivened by anecdotes."
Sam Baker, Lead partner Monitor Deloitte EMEA strategy consulting practice
"When the dominant neo-liberal system is assaulted, the ‘company with a purpose’ brings hope. Alan’s book demonstrates concretely why and how. Sharing his experience as a very effective leader, his book illustrates how profiting through heightened integrity contributes to the common good and delivers for all stakeholders. The book makes explicit the model and the values upon which is built a ‘company with a purpose’; and, it is ground-breaking in demonstrating clearly ‘how’ to implement an effective transformation, and how to make the difficult but unavoidable trade-offs. A very timely work for all enlightened leaders who want to walk the talk."
Henri-Claude de Bettignies, Emeritus Professor INSEAD Business School, France
"As becoming ‘purpose-led’ goes mainstream, the business focus is shifting from "why bother" to "how to do this well". The core of this timely and insightful book is a powerful worked example, showing the steps a committed and visionary CEO took over five years to put purpose into practice in a challenging context. With a wealth of practical illustrations of dilemmas and decisions, and using Blueprint for Better Business’s Five principles as an external benchmark, the book illuminates how taking purpose seriously is both a personal and organisational challenge, and demonstrates the amazing difference it can make – to the benefit of the business, society and the people involved."
Charles Wookey, CEO Blueprint for Better Business