How To Find Inspiration in Business (When All Else Fails)


I’ve seen the future.

And it was in Wright’s Great Hall at the Menucha Retreat Center last Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

I was invited to speak to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards about the benefit corporation movement. Which I did in front of 30-plus business-minded folks under the age of 30.

I took them through the “why” and the “how” for this business structure built upon the Triple P bottom line of People, Planet and Profit. It’s what we discuss in-depth in our recently published book “Putting Soul Into Business.”

I told them that if all I did was nothing more than inspire them about how business can do good by becoming an Oregon Benefit Company, I would have done my job.

But as it turned out, it was they who inspired me. Their questions, their comments, their curiosity reflected in the Q & A part of my chat confirmed what research time and again had shown my business partner and me.

"Millennials are putting their faith in companies

to ignite change. 71% are hopeful business will take

the lead to drive social and environmental change

moving forward."

- 2017 Cone CSR Report

You see, the Millennial generation is all about purpose and cause. They embrace collaboration and creativity. And they have a steadfast belief in saving our planet.

This is not just our opinion. We’ve pored over Millennial data the past two years from respected research organizations such as Nielsen, Edelman, Deloitte, Brookings Institution and Cone Communications. That’s not to mention the Millennial Impact Report funded by the Case Foundation.

And if you’re an employer, the stats are too glaring not to see. Consider these key findings from the 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study:

  • 64% of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work

  • 64% won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values

  • 83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues (vs. 70% U.S. average)

  • 88% say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues

All of which I believe fueled their keen interest and curiosity in the Oregon Benefit Company and triple bottom line movement. And how, I ask, can that not create hope and positivity for the business world and life as we know it?

So here’s a suggestion the next time you find yourself thinking or feeling things are bleak in the business work. Seek out a college classroom or young professionals meetup in your city.

I’m betting you’ll not only find some bright and talented people. You’ll also get a ton of inspiration. Just as it was for me 7 days ago in Corbett, Oregon.