Creating public value is key to successful business and to building trust. Maria del Peso, vice-chair of Your Public Value’s Supervisory Board, explains why the future of business lies in public value creation.
“Discussions on trust and distrust are ever-present in all corporations. Many CEOs and managers seem to be ready to invest incredible budgets to restore trust. Most internal staff surveys tend to demonstrate that the lack of trust impacts employee relationships, confidence in the corporation’s strategic growth, and even the future of work. The picture is bleak both from the employer’s and the employee’s perspective.
Such lack of trust is critical for any corporation, and even for society. If you don’t trust, you cannot engage yourself as a citizen or an employee. It’s time for us as citizens, employees, and customers, to raise the question of value creation.
Who should be the one restoring trust?
Business leaders have a key role to play in restoring trust. They can do so in creating value for society. In corporations we are used to a single viewpoint and we tend to tackle shareholders’ opinions without taking into consideration employees’ views. This is a silo approach. It’s time to have an integrated approach, being aware of all the stakeholders in the ecosystem, and of what the general public is expecting from us.
One of the key questions is whether public value creation concerns only stakeholders of corporations, or whether corporations should start addressing the needs of the public at large, i.e. the needs of society and of the environment. My vision of public value creation is the one of an integrated approach that would add economic value to any activity and would positively serve society. I truly believe it is time to think of profit and purpose in an integrated manner.
The SDGs as a growth opportunity
Consider the opportunities that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) bring to business. They are a unique mix of interest for the public and of business opportunities. We can find plenty of examples of disruptive business models, and at the same time alleviating poverty. If we refer to the SDGs fixed by the UN, alleviating poverty can be an opportunity for companies to make profit and give purpose at the same time. We understand this is not about creating new services only. It’s about finding new business models, innovating, having disruptive approaches that will allow an incremental and even exponential growth. This is a very exciting challenge both for the young generation and for senior people. It is an opportunity to bring generations together. Together, they should think about new growth projects that will meet the needs of different communities.
The ideal leader should be able to bring different generations around the table to work together and share a common objective: creating value for the public. Bring at the same time purpose and profit.
That’s what Public Value is about. It’s about giving consistency, and satisfying the needs of every stakeholder around a common objective. That is common good.