Co Working spaces London. How it all began: A note from x+why CEO, Rupert Dean
This Is Personal
For 15 years I was in a job I hated. Fuelled only by my desire to maintain my reasonable salary I stayed in the job whilst continuing to search for the ultimate escape....happiness (and money).
It proved very elusive...
Why Am I Doing It?
I have come to realise there is a fundamental question you have to ask yourself when you are stuck like this.
‘Why am I doing what I am doing?’ or, put another way, ‘What is my Purpose?’
I realised cash was a red herring. Being miserable but well paid was a terrible answer. This was just leading to me doing a rubbish job and was not sustainable. At the same time, those people who had started in jobs they loved but who had been paid far less were actually now getting paid more than me because they had advanced quicker. Damn it.
Then I realised the one thing that all these ‘happy at work’ people have is that they know why they are doing it. They get out of bed mostly because they enjoy the feeling of helping something or someone. They had a purpose.
This purpose was an extension of the company’s purpose. That company had a purpose which sought to help something or someone (usually the same something or someone). It had a societal benefit. In addition, that company projected that purpose and they were proud of it. It became fundamental to their brand, it held them to account and they amplified it.
This meant the employee knew and believed in the mission and believed in the way they were doing it. It excited them. It's what they sprung out of bed for.
These companies also took employee welfare seriously. This was more than just beers on a Thursday and chocolates brought back from a holiday. This was a commitment to health and, in particular, mental health. It was manifested from the design of the offices to the quality of food to their policies on working from home, team exercise, subsidised or paid for apps or exercise classes. This was not the hangover culture, this was weirdly grown up and employees were proud. They were productive.
So the next time you go on the interview rounds ask the interviewer two questions:
1. Why do they come into work everyday?
2. What is the Company’s purpose? Or: Why does the Company exist?
Remember – the answer can’t be cash! You must resist this…
If you like the answer and you believe in the mission and believe it is authentic then you should look closer.
I learnt that without it, it was impossible to embed that sense of pride and purpose into your brand and therefore into your employees.
I also think, if you are a start up or SME, that having or creating a societal benefit also makes it easier to fundraise. It can be the differentiator from the competitors. Shareholders can more easily identify with the passion and feel their investment is valued and that they are making a genuine difference. It does of course need to be authentic though...
Having a reason for existing beyond profit, making sure it has a societal benefit (helping someone or something) and thinking about your people are the inputs to a successful business. Get this right and bottom line will naturally become the output.
Purpose and Profit
I have therefore become an advocate of linking purpose and profit. I genuinely believe purpose driven businesses end up creating better relationships with customers, suppliers and employees and therefore build a more ethical, long term and sustainable brand.
This, by the way, does not mean I believe in all companies having to be holier than thou or the complete restructure of corporate governance or wealth or that I believe companies should have to give away endless equity and profit to prove how responsible they are.
I just fundamentally believe business can be a force for good, can benefit society, can build better relationships, can build employee loyalty and can make more money as a result.
This is why we have built x+why.
At x+why we want to change the way the world works for good. We are a workspace for better business. We are uniting a range of entrepreneurs and businesses who understand, or want to understand, their ‘why’. We are uniting and inspiring them within tech forward, wellness focused, thought provoking flexible work space at Aldgate East, London.
We want to use this space to help purpose driven businesses collaborate, create greater impact, amplify their success and be rewarded for it.
We will be partnering with organisations, seeking data, listening to CEO's and employees, watching our members grow, rewarding purpose and bench marking their (and our own) success against key criteria.
As we work towards the 2030 deadline for the implementation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals there is now a shift in the way we do business. Over the next 10 years, consumers will begin to only buy from businesses who seek to benefit society and who consider their people and the natural environment as much as they do profit. Employees will only work for businesses who provide them purpose and who take their welfare seriously. Businesses who are not making theses changes will not survive.
If you believe in this theory or interested in discussing further then I want to speak with you.