Why Purpose Driven Businesses Performed Better During Covid (and What This Means Next)

Available for Interviews: Nell Derick Debevoise

Nell Derick Debevoise is the Founder & CEO of Inspiring Capital and the author of the new book, Going First: Find the Courage to Lead Purposefully and Inspire Action is available on Amazon.


What Nell Derick Debevoise can say in an interview on
the Success of Purpose Driven Businesses:

    • Having a broader sense of purpose beyond selling their goods, helped many companies navigate the challenges of hierarchy. Certified B Corp, Seventh Generation, for example, outperformed their own precedent, as well as competitors when it came to the innovation necessary to survive the pandemic.

        • Seventh Generation’s home cleaning products were in huge demand, but the company has a commitment to using recycled inputs in their supply chain, which couldn’t keep up with Covid demand. CEO Joey Bergstein explained that these constraints helped his team innovate, “When you put constraints around a situation creativity actually goes up because you’re trying to innovate within a limited space.” Indeed, they didn’t break any of their commitments to a sustainable supply chain, while growing production significantly to meet demand.
    • The clarity of a larger purpose enabled mattress company Leesa to reduce hierarchy and shift roles to meet changing needs during Covid. They eliminated their main sales channel (retail) within days of the shutdown, and all those team members had to learn direct sales, as well as contributing to the company’s Covid support efforts of designing and producing a hospital bed kit. Because of the company’s mission to create “a better place to sleep for everybody” employees were able and willing to reimagine their responsibilities overnight and deliver on the new challenges.
    • In the crisis environment, companies with a strong, authentic purpose were the ones we saw do the right thing. Consumers and employees revolted against decisions that didn’t support the greater good, such as Whole Foods asking employees not to take paid leave for Covid-related illness, thereby risking customers and workers alike. Companies that took unfair advantage of PPP loans were quickly shamed—some acted quickly to return the money, whereas others held onto the unnecessary windfall. 
        • Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital, suggested that Covid might be the factor to put shareholder capitalism to bed for good.
    • Finally, the presence of a universal threat to our very survival made workplaces human again. We could no longer pretend to be breathing machines, delivering work at a constant rate and quality, day in and day out. Our own limitations, as well as non-work commitments, became part of our working conditions, requiring increased empathy and flexibility from leaders. 
    • Going forward, threats to our wellbeing and prosperity are not going anywhere, including other disease outbreaks and health risks, racial injustice and the resulting unrest, and environmental degradation causing extreme weather. These ongoing challenges make purpose a powerful navigation tool to keep your company on track. 
    • Read my complete article on the topic in Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/nelldebevoise/2020/05/12/why-purpose-driven-businesses-are-faring-better-in-covid-19/?sh=3391577522a0 


Interview: Nell Derick Debevoise

Nell Derick Debevoise is the Founder & CEO of Inspiring Capital and helps purpose-driven leaders expand their impact, grow their businesses, and build legacies—partnering with leaders and companies that are good for the people and the planet around them. Her approach is informed by her experience living and working on 4 continents; studying at Harvard, Cambridge, Columbia, and London Business Schools; and in working with CEOs, and other people-leaders of American Express, Cisco, Google, and hyper-growth startups in the health, consumer, and fintech sectors. She’s a Senior Contributor to Forbes, and her first book, Going First: Find the Courage to Lead Purposefully and Inspire Action is available on Amazon.

Going First: Find the Courage to Lead Purposefully and Inspire Action (Purposeful Leadership Book 1) by [Nell Derick Debevoise]

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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