loader image

The Ultimate Strategy

Is “be good” a part of your 2021 strategy? If not, you should reconsider.

When I was in business school, we learned that companies exist to do one thing: maximize shareholder value. At Outthinker, we’ve been talking for years about how this belief has become defunct. Companies are realizing that focusing solely on shareholder value creates resistance to growth that ultimately diminishes value to those shareholders.

A better strategy is one that aims to help shareholders by benefiting all stakeholders: the community, employees, the government, the environment, and the world.

Becoming a force for good is the ultimate strategy.

The Pope on Big Business

Last week, in an unlikely pairing, Pope Francis met with a group of businesses, investors and other groups to form the Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican. The council, whose leaders include Ajay Banga of Mastercard, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, intends to create a more just economic system and address the biggest challenges facing humanity and our planet. Their commitment to focus on environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, practices in business reflects a growing global trend and a serious step forward for the “be good” movement.

I have gotten to speak with some of these leaders personally, and I can assure you their intentions are authentic. Why? Because they make business sense.

Customers, Employees, and Regulators Care about ESG Practices

You don’t have to choose between doing good and making money. It turns out, doing good is good for business.

As the chaos of the past year has resulted in upheaval of existing paradigms, consumers are directing their focus toward organizations with a purpose greater than profit. Gartner named equality as one of the top consumer trends for 2021. The pandemic continues to highlight inequities in our society, and customers are choosing companies with values that speak to their concerns for social justice and civic engagement.

Employees, too, are looking past workplace perks for a company mission that aligns with their own. “Millennial and Gen Z employees want a work experience … that prioritizes ethical and sustainable practices,” says Fast Company. According to global trends, employees of all ages recognize the importance of a company’s values and purpose.

In tech, companies are realizing the impact of their carbon footprint and taking steps to minimize destruction to the environment. Dell has announced plans to redesign all of its products for circular reuse. By 2030, the company aims to recycle an equivalent product for each product sold. Such disclosures on ESG factors are expected to become standardized by the end of the decade, and adherence to regulations will determine what differentiates organizations of the future.

Consumers, employees, and regulators are paying attention to ESG practices. Do you have a strategy in place that addresses them?

For tips on finding out which of these practices are important to your customers, join our latest Insight to Impact Adventure with Rita McGrath. Rita shares important methods for determining the behaviors and needs that inspire your customers’ actions. Use code OUTTHINKER39 for a free $39 Traveler ticket (or $39 off any other ticket).

How to Design Your Strategy to “Be Good”

As more of your customers are tuning into companies that are making a difference, “be good” is an essential part of strategic design.

To highlight your organization’s contribution, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. How can we profitably solve a problem in the world?
  2. How can we better and more authentically communicate the good that our work does in the world?
  3. What could we start and what could we stop doing to do better in the world?

Taking the time to answer these questions will reveal a series of “fourth options” to generate innovative strategic ideas and help you determine your mission to “be good”. If you want to learn the complete Outthinker Process for developing your 2021 strategy, click here to register for my Outthink the Competition course.

Photo by Simon Migaj from Pexels

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?