When the business final impact reveals the shocking truth

The final impact of the business determines the soundness of its purpose.

Let’s discuss this statement by using Barclays bank whose purpose, mission and corporate strategy are great learning tools that we can use to better our understanding.

Let’s first dissect Barclays’ purpose:

Creating opportunities to rise. We are a company of opportunity makers working together to help people rise – customers, clients, colleagues and society. what a magnanimous purpose!

The reality:  

Making profits is the north star and the purpose of the bank. Using a colorful and a nice language does not beautify and camouflage the final impact. Barclay’s purpose lacks a purpose.  The most fundamental parts of a great purpose are missing. Action and an impact.

A purpose is why the business is essentially created and exists for.

Does Barclay’s bank really exist to lift people up and prosper the society?

Does Barclays exist to make a positive impact into people’s lives?  

Well, I have decided not to criticize it myself, but to invite you to gauge the soundness of their purpose through using the following questions:

  1. Why does the business exist?
  2. What is the business trying to achieve, solve, and challenge?
  3. What is the source of the profits?
  4. What is the final impact on people’s lives, society, and the whole world?
  5. Does the business create meaningful products and services that genuinely benefit and empower people?
  6. Does the business have a safe and an empowering environment for the employees?
  7. Does the business use layoffs and redundancies to balance its books?

What I admire the most about Barclay’s is that they have acknowledged the sole reason why they exist in business through simply stating the way they measure their overall success.

Measuring success – Barclays

Our aim is to generate long-term sustainable returns for Barclays shareholders.

They genuinely want to make more returns for shareholders not to elevate employees, customers, clients, colleagues and society. Let’s tweak their purpose statement a little bit to make it more relevant and reflect their true DNA:

Creating opportunities to rise above all, outpace competitors and make more money.

Now, it perfectly matches how they measure their success which is to generate long-term sustainable returns for Barclays shareholders.

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