Business as a Tool For Justice: Nine actions you can implement now that are good for you, your business — and the world.

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As a business founder and CEO, I spend a lot of time thinking about the profitability and sustainability of my company. I also spend a lot of time, money, and energy trying to be my best self. Then separately, I invest countless hours and dollars trying to do my part to contribute to my community and have a positive impact.

I spent the first decade of my career feeling like I was constantly juggling competing priorities. When facing big decisions, I often found myself asking if I should do what was best for me, my business, or the world.

Then thanks to so many incredible influences in my life, I had a realization. My wellness, my business’s profit, and my contribution to a more just world actually need to be completely aligned in order to live a life that is truly impactful.

The world is changing and as business leaders, we are being held to a higher standard. Where we used to be rewarded for driving revenue and shareholder value — and doing so with the utmost confidence and charisma — we are now being asked to consider all stakeholders and drive positive change while being strong, integrated servant leaders.

I believe that this is an incredible moment for business leaders to rethink our role and for us to use our businesses as a powerful tool for impact, justice, and real change.

Here are nine actions that you can implement to maximize your wellness, profit, and impact.

Ensure your organization is both financially sustainable and driving social change.

We have long lived in a world where for-profit businesses were meant to focus on money at the expense of the greater good, and nonprofit and governmental organizations were meant to focus on the greater good at the expense of financial sustainability. Neither of these models are sustainable or ultimately, effective. Instead, let’s build great companies that are good for all involved. Consider taking one or more of these three actions:

  1. Have a public compensation chart so that everyone in your company is paid within the same pay range for the same roles. This creates accountability and transparency for everyone and will increase productivity.
  2. Limit executive base pay so that no one in the company is making an outsized amount and instead, implement performance-based pay across the entire company. If individuals or the company perform well, give people across the company extra compensation to reward their efforts, including the CEO.
  3. Do away with heads of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) or departments that focus on impact. Instead, set companywide impact goals and drive the entire team to build systems, processes, vendor agreements, etc. based on company-wide principles. Don’t put DEI or impact in a department – make it a mandate.

Manage your wellness so that you can maximize your profit and impact.

The leaders of today need to be able to handle sustained uncertainty, complex human realities, and warranted public pressure to be authentic — and to do all of that while navigating change that will continue at unprecedented rates in the years to come. There is no way we can be successful without being completely well and whole as individuals. Our ability to build great businesses will be capped by our overall mental, emotional, and physical health. Consider taking one or more of these three actions:

  1. Hire a very good coach and/or therapist. None of us can manage the sustained pressure of leading in these times alone. I have a team of people who I speak with regularly to process my emotions and get insight and support where I might have blind spots.
  2. Get a personal trainer and see them every week. Having consistent accountability to pay attention to how our bodies are doing ensures we stay grounded in wellness, regardless of how intense our schedules get. I travel a lot, so I do this via Zoom so that travel doesn’t interrupt this important part of my week.
  3. Take one business day a month away from meetings and technology to pause and reflect. I have found that when I can get myself to quiet down the noise and to reconnect to myself, my highest priorities surface and I seem to be able to solve all of my biggest problems.

Focus on change, not your personal brand.

Our culture has put so much of an emphasis on building a personal brand, gaining followers, and being a “celebrity” business leader. By focusing on building a personal brand instead of building a great company, we are at a high risk of making poor choices and not actually creating the impact that we want. Consider taking one or more of these three actions:

  1. Identify what you want to be known for (I am pretty sure it is not the number of followers you have), and align every decision you make about how you spend your time and money to those things only.
  2. Focus on contribution instead of attention. Create a time budget for the number of hours that you can spend each month sharing your knowledge, wisdom, and expertise with the world. Focus on investing that time in a way that will have the maximum amount of impact and contribution instead of what will have the biggest impact on your brand.
  3. When you set company goals, include financial and impact goals. Drive your entire team to hit their impact goals, along with their financial goals, and your core values and good work will speak for itself. People will notice.

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