The Tension Between Profit & Purpose

By Mike O'Sullivan

Published Date: 2020/03


Mettle Global’s Founder & Managing Director (and former Commander of the SAS), Ben Pronk, joined Derwent for a boardroom briefing in Perth, facilitating an enlightening discussion on the tension between Profit & Purpose within the modern organisational context.

This was a thought-provoking and highly participative discussion attended by many prominent Perth Directors.

Ben identified three key themes;

  • The Board’s role in “setting the tone” and culture for an organisation has become increasingly prominent post Hayne Royal Commission; it is no longer the sole domain of Management.
  • The “Clarity of Purpose” of an organisation is paramount, and this must be consistently understood at all levels of an organisation to drive the right outcomes. “Purpose” must also increasingly consider a broader range of stakeholder outcomes, not solely profit.
  • Individual and organisational “resilience”, is a highly sought-after attribute within Management Executives and Board Members alike, it is gaining increasing prominence as a determinant of company success and a differentiator in selecting talent.

Boardroom culture, the link between reward and behaviours, the increasing prominence of ESG and having a ‘social license to operate” were all discussed at length, highlighting the natural tension between profit and purpose within contemporary Boardrooms.