Skip to main content
Previous Blog Home Next

Functional Shared Value

I was playing a board game with my 6 year old niece last week and she told me she wants to grow up to be a ballerina. Or maybe a job working with animals. She really likes cats and dogs. And deer. This got me thinking, well maybe even dreaming. When my niece Olivia enters the workforce in twenty or so years – might she find a totally different job landscape? Will companies that create shared value offer positions that have the same titles as positions today, but fundamentally different roles? What might this look like?

The CSR Manager –> Change Agent
As Greg Hills blogged about a few months ago, the role of the CSR Manager (if a standalone role for this even exists in twenty years) will be a fundamentally different role than today. This person (Chief Shared Value Officer?) will be in charge of energizing and mobilizing internal assets and energy to deliver on the company’s shared value strategy and to ensure that different business units and functional units are working in cohesion. As Greg writes, they will be a teacher, a business strategist, an innovator, a facilitator, a collaborator and a knowledge agent.

The CEO –> Steward of the Company’s Purpose
As Marc Pfitzer blogged about last year, in the future companies will define themselves around so-called “industries of purpose.” Food and beverage companies will become nutrition companies. Car companies will become mobility companies. Retail banks will become engines of economic growth, as they were historically intended to be. Setting, steering and if needed adjusting the company’s purpose in society will rest on the shoulders of the CEO.

The CFO –> Measurer of Shared Value Creation
Companies excel at measuring their financials. They know which indicators matter the most, they know how to collect the data (on a daily basis) and they know how to aggregate and glean insights. However when it comes to measuring the societal value created through shared value, companies have a ways to go. An upcoming FSG article will shed light on the emerging practice of shared value measurement. In twenty years, CFOs will see it as their natural role to measure the company’s performance by intentionally planning for and then measuring the societal and economic value it creates.

The HR Director –> Cultivator of Social Innovators and Long-Term Thinkers
In a shared value company, it is pivotal that each employee spots opportunities to address societal challenges that strengthen the company’s competitive positioning. This requires talent that can do two things that are absent in many companies today: rigorously and creatively pursuing social innovation and keeping the long-term perspective at the forefront. This will mean that hiring requirements, on-the-job-training opportunities and incentives and performance reviews need to shift dramatically. Or in the words of my colleague Mike Stamp, HR will need to “teach sprinters to run marathons…”

The Supply Chain Manager –> Incubator of Cluster Development
The supply chain manager will not be tasked with answering the question: how can I squeeze the most value for the company out of my suppliers? But rather: how can I improve the quality, productivity and sustainability of my suppliers so that they and the company can both prosper together in the long-term? This requires talent that can work in partnership and mobilize internal and external resources (and maybe even competitors) to build capacity along the supply chain and especially around the company’s operating context.

The Head of Research & Development –> Shared Value Dreamer and Experimenter
Finally, the head of R&D – or depending on the industry of purpose the head of business or product development – will go to work every day with the relentless pursuit of developing products and services that address societal challenges and lead to revenues and profit for the company. This person, in close partnership with the peers described above, will spot opportunities that the company can address at scale and inspire colleagues to configure solutions. She might actually have the funnest job of all!

Now we just need to revamp MBA curricula to actually teach the next generation of leaders how to play these exciting new roles!

Valerie Bockstette

Former Managing Director, FSG