In an increasingly uncertain world, companies and brands have a more important role than ever in becoming forces for positive change.
But how to know which cause, which social purpose, which of the many problems and ills that need to be addressed is the right one?
Right in the sense of being relevant and meaningful to your stakeholders, being right for your brand. Being the one thing that you can truly help solve.
The one where you can make the biggest difference.
We call it finding your x.
The x. The one issue, problem, cause or catalyst for change that, once identified, gives you a purposeful true north, a meaningful platform to work from, towards making a real difference in the world.
The x is whatever stands in the way of positive change. And the one thing that your company, your brand, your stakeholders can most effectively “own” as a cause.
A philosopher and businessman who wrote a book called Disruption once said, “If we change nothing, we will fail. But if we try to change everything, we will also fail.”
True lasting change comes from knowing what to change. And then applying an unrelenting determination to change that one thing that, once changed, changes everything.
A few years ago, at the United Nations, a social activist who worked to protect exploited migrant farm laborers, spoke to a huge crowd about the impact that one penny could make. His story was about how corporate interests had kept farm workers in enforced poverty, by paying them less than the minimum wage.
Then he said, “And the terrible thing is that if those food industry conglomerates were to increase the price of produce for consumers by just one penny per pound, you could double the salaries of those impoverished farm workers.”
Then he said this: “How many of you in this room would be willing to pay one cent more when you go to the supermarket to buy your produce? Stand up and raise your finger if you are.” As one, a thousand people stood, their fingers pointing to the sky.
The problem was the grinding endemic poverty that crushed the lives and spirits of migrant farm workers and their families. A huge, seemingly insurmountable problem.
The x was the price of produce. It was a simple as that. Changing it would change everything.
Don’t boil the ocean, create a ripple. Don’t change everything. Change x.
Not only immigrant farm workers but companies have their x. Brands have their x. People have their x.
Companies have always had a role in driving societal change. Today that corporate responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.
But which x should your company work to change? Which x will make the biggest difference? Finding the right x is hard. It’s important.
The world needs your x, and your efforts to change it.
So... what’s your x?