Purposeful brands empower risk taking: Minderoo

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An articulated brand purpose can empower employees to take risks and not be disincentivised by the prospect of failure, according to Shelley Cable, CEO of the Minderoo Foundation’s Generation One.

The foundation was established by mining magnate Twiggy Forrest, and Generation One's mission is to help deliver employment parity for Indigenous Australians in one generation.

The values of the organisation and employees can guide the application of its key purpose, according to Cable.

“Brand purpose for business or for charity should be no different than considering your own purpose as an individual,” she says.

“I find that if you treat an organisation as a human being, [and consider] what decision you would make morally, as an individual, you will start to make better ethical decisions.”

According to Cable, the values at Minderoo influence decision-making about the risks that the organisation is prepared to take, in order to further its mission.

“At Minderoo we have 10 values which guide absolutely everything we do,” Cable says.
“We bring them up when we are making tough decisions, we go through all of the 10 values and see how they might or might not be reflected by various options that are ahead of us. I find that often some of the most meaningful conversations that we have, as teams really do centre around the values.”

Also working in a charity organisation, Annabelle Daniel, CEO of Women’s Community Shelters believes that the articulation of values and purpose aid in empowering staff.

“Staff are empowered to work within boundaries and to act entrepreneurially in coming up with solutions. I think that's incredibly important, too, because we also work outside the boundaries of government funding,” she says.

While Cable acknowledges the challenge facing traditional businesses in recognising the value in a broad view of stakeholder interests, she suggests that those led by younger generations view it as a core business element, not an afterthought.

“From my experience, new businesses, those run by millennials, and younger generations tend to have that intrinsic social motivation,” Cable says.

“It will help with your profitability if you're creating something useful to people, and then it's up to you as to how you want to reinvest those profits for social goods so that they can be entwined in what you're doing or offering.”


Credit: The video was produced by Josh Lundberg, Matthew Ryan and Tejas Bhat.

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