While organizations are increasingly acknowledging the value of stakeholder-driven “corporate purpose,” some are struggling to match their rhetoric with results. In fact, some 43% of 521 of the world’s largest companies are having trouble delivering value that equals their intent, according to new research from Accenture.
In the new Signals of Change report, Accenture says that among purpose-run organizations, a playbook is starting to emerge that is helping them better meet society’s expectations and go from “having good intentions to delivering on them.”
This playbook seems to embody three steps:
Step 1. Find a purpose and commit to it.
Step 2. Put a value on purpose.
Step 3. Engineer accountability across your ecosystem.
The challenge for companies is to move beyond merely drafting a purpose statement — and associated targets — to actually embedding purpose into the core of their organizations. “This embedding starts with the board,” the report states. “While different stakeholder groups may require different levels of engagement, key ones should have, at the very least, a meaningful voice in shaping governance.”
One reason companies may be falling short of their stated goals may be that they are setting those goals in a bit of a knowledge vacuum. That is, many companies continue to establish sustainability targets without a clear understanding of how to achieve them, a Black & Veatch report from last spring found.
In order to discover how to achieve their stated goals, companies are looking to artificial intelligence to find new patterns in data and better anticipate future decisions, the Accenture report suggests. “Rather than focusing on the past for insights, organizations are increasingly looking forward,” it states, adding, “We call this approach ‘learning from the future.’”
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