Henry Ford once said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
If 2020 has reinforced anything it is that we are all in this world together, all interconnected and intertwined, our actions have ripple effects the world over.
What I hope 2021 will be remembered for is not only keeping together but working together as individuals, corporations and governments to create long-lasting and deep impact across the globe.
In 2015 during the UN General Assembly the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were set & agreed on by all UN Member States. The Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all" by 2030. The goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.
For me, the most important of the goals and the starting point of everything I do is SDG#17 - Partnerships For The Goals. It is the foundation that we must start from and build on to ensure we meet the targets set out by 2030. Today, after all we are more connected than ever before.
Some of the greatest success stories whether in business or in the arts - after all each artist has its muse, are based on partnerships.
Solving the world's biggest problems should not be viewed through a different lens. Think about some of the most iconic brand partnerships of the past few years Spotify + Uber, Nike + Apple to name a few, came together and in-turn dominated their market share making them some of the biggest brand names today, made only bigger and stronger through strategic brand partnerships.
If we apply the same thinking and methodology in business and in government to solving some of the biggest issues facing the world today could we too not achieve success in the chosen SDG’s we choose to partner on? Why do we form partnerships only to financially advance our own business causes? could we not use these same partnerships to change the course of climate change, poverty, gender inequality and all of the sustainable development goals while also running successful businesses?
There are a number of well documented examples of businesses leading the way, doing good while growing their bottom line. A recent example - perhaps not as well known resonated with me. The story is documented in Firms of Endearment. Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz took up a friend’s invitation to spend half a day in a teen halfway house. His friend promised him that his life would never be the same post seeing first hand some of the challenges these teens face. At the end of the day Swartz was chatting to one of the teens who asked Swartz what he did - his response was “I’m responsible for the global execution of strategy”, he then asked the teen what he did. “I work at getting well.” Swartz said later that the teen’s answer trumped his own response. It was this interaction that caused Swartz to take action and make a change as a leader.
He left his office as a corporate executive striving to make Timberland the biggest and best and returned as an inspired leader, enlisting his entire company in a campaign to “make the world a better place.” which is the company’s mission today. The stock of Timberland has risen more than 700% in the last 10 years and more than doubled in the last 3.
Success achieved through internal, external & supply chain partnerships driving impact while growing profitable results.
As quoted in Conscious Capitalism (by John Mackey & Raj Sisodia) "Business is by far the greatest value creator in the world. We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.”
So, this year in 2021 join me in a conversation about partnerships for the goals and how we can work together to form partnerships with long-lasting impact, locally, regionally & globally.
How do we all work together to become companies that stand for something?
Let's chat and build meaningful partnerships for the goals. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org