I have always nurtured the desire to make a difference in the world right from when I was a child.
My earliest memory was in my Secondary School when I wrote a letter to my principal asking permission to allow me and members of the Youth Talent Club” (YTC) to interview residents of the community where the school was located on suggestions on how to launder the image of the school battered by hooliganism of some of the students at the time. YTC was an association I founded to galvanize the energy of the students in the school for a greater good in the community.
The simple act of following the desire to change the world resulted in my career stints in three Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) including the one I founded after leaving secondary school.
As an individual who grew up in an underprivileged environment, I have benefitted directly from the institutions and individuals who made it their mission to make a difference in the world. I have enjoyed free mentorship, a platform for leadership development, an opportunity for skill development and much more. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child!
As the world collectively tackles a common challenge and collaborate to solve the global crisis necessitated by the spread of COVID19 Pandemic, this edition of the magazine is focused on individuals and organizations whose livelihood is directly involved in making a difference in the world.
Interestingly, when we set out the agenda to focus on mission-driven Organisation as the theme for this edition, little did we realize that the subject of mission and purpose will dominate the global stage.
This edition focuses on the ethos that compels individuals to prioritize purpose over profit and explores careers and businesses established with the primary aim of making a difference in the world.
Different individuals have shared stories and insight into developing careers in non-profit and also balancing passion with profits.
Speaking about profit, we believe that profit-making businesses can also be a mission or purpose-driven Organisation. An Organisation does not necessarily have to be non-profit to be mission-driven.
Most organizations have mission statements at the commencement of their business but operationally become more focused on strategy, targets, execution, business goals, and performance. In the bid to deliver results to shareholders, we often forget to leverage our mission to galvanize our workforce because the subject sounds fluffy.
In business, ideas are powerful because they often transform into products or services that generate revenue for the company. However, beyond ideas, a more powerful force for business sustainability is its mission or purpose; why does your Organisation exist? Why is it interested and investing in those ideas, products or services? The answer to the question is its license for existence.
In fact, there are enough researches establishing the correlation between Organisation success and purpose. Take for example, the importance of purpose in managing crisis. A crisis will force you to focus on what is truly important – People! And as one of our contributors stated, people as resources should be led rather than managed.
One of the easiest ways to galvanize people through a crisis is to galvanize them around the mission and purpose of the Organisation reiterating that fundamental question of “Why do we exist as a business?”
There are certain concepts in business which may seem like “nice to know” until there is a real danger; such as the subject of risk management, disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan which have now proven to be our important toolkits in the face of the current crisis.
In the same vein, the subject of purpose or mission in the survival, success, and sustainability of an organization can turn out to be a lifesaver when every other thing fails in business.
We should remember that successful employees don’t join an organization, they join a vision or a purpose; this is because people are fundamentally purpose-built, though not everyone may be purpose-driven.
This fact is reinforced by the popular Maslow hierarchy of needs which stipulates that the highest form of human need is self-actualization. By inference, the best thing an employer can offer employees is not just good salaries or robust recognition for work done, etc. but a sense that employees can self-actualize through their contributions. Knowing that my existence is making a difference through my skills, knowledge, and resources is a fundamental need for everyone.
In an article published in Forbes Magazine by Caterina Bulgarella; 79% of business leaders believed that an organization’s purpose is central to business success and millennials who have a strong connection to the purpose of their organization are 5.3 times more likely to stay.
Therefore, businesses can derive real value from integrating their mission into their business practices and process such as training, onboarding, risk management, leadership development, etc.
As you read through this edition of the magazine, we trust that you will find the articles useful and most importantly, you will find inspiration from the stories and insights of men and women who prioritize mission over money.