Blog entry by Oluwatoyin Adeleke
When I think about the moral purpose of business, I could easily cite a perfect example of a business that has benefited from the strong moral purpose of her chief executives.
Everyone agrees that the performance of a company’s leadership has a decisive influence on her long-term profitability.
My Chief executive, Mr. P.L Carrodano's ideology is that most successful organizations, over time, are those in which people act consistently and decisively, innovating, and building high-quality relationships with customers. The task of leadership is to stimulate these kinds of actions, reliably and continually. He believes that the executives who can do this are not magicians, rather they have learned how to deploy a conceptual tool that allows them to inspire and lead an organization toward enduring competitive advantage.
That conceptual tool is called "the moral purpose of business".
In the year 2006, when Five Star Logistics Limited won the concession bid to run a ship's port and terminal at the TinCan Island Port in Lagos, the port business clime at that time could use a huge change. The port customers, the government workers, and the constituents were on different sides of a productive bargain. The business culture was rude, hard, and one-sided.
But fourteen years later, the Five Star Logistics was going to change all of that. Mr. Carrodano understood that making money as a terminal operator was secondary to his business' moral purpose which is: "giving customers a good deal". So he made his employees feel that their work was worthwhile, by tapping into their natural good feelings toward fellow human beings. This in turn led the employees to treat customers in a friendly and helpful way, which (combined with our fierce pursuit of efficient port services), established the kind of customer loyalty that has been our central competitive advantage among other terminals in the whole of Lagos port.
With over 500 staff serving customers at various levels in the terminal, Mr. Carrodano could call each staff by name and take each customer's message personally. He could do this because he shared these feelings himself and communicated them at every turn. Indeed, his altruistic appreciation of his fellow human beings shines through his account of his own motivations.
So in conclusion, behind every successful company, one can find leaders with a similarly well-formed moral purpose, and in the case of Five Star Logistics terminal, a well-chosen moral purpose has proved effective for profitability in our business in that it resonates with the sensibility of customers, employees, and other constituents.
- Paul Adeleke