When a company makes a public mistake, it’s revealing. Like when Forbes recently released a list of the 100 most innovative leaders in America and included only one woman, and no women of color.

They did acknowledge their error, but the horse was already out of the barn. What was likely multiple layers of internal decision-makers all thought this was okay.

What came from this series of decisions is now a major public relations problem. The reputation of the organization has been blemished. Perception of it as a valued resource has been degraded.

Public mistakes are costly: they can decrease sales, affect customer confidence, and diminish employee commitment. Potentially valuable collaborations can be undermined.

This problem goes beyond PR – it’s systemic in the organization. It comes from excessive inward focus, and a lack of focus on impact.

I define impact as the meeting place where you and your unique business contribute to making the world a better place for all of us. It’s both the growth and development of you/your business AND making a positive difference. Companies that focus too much internally tend to be profit-focused, ignoring or minimizing non-investor stakeholders. They tend to include leadership that is too narrowly focused.

Business is changing. There’s an increasing emphasis on multi-stakeholder capitalism, where profit is part of the mix, but not the whole focus. This comes from high profile CEOs, as exemplified by the recent Business Roundtable’s statement, and it comes from buyers and employees.

People want to buy from and work for companies that have a bigger purpose than making money. Millennials make job choices on that basis. Older employees are focused on legacy. They are choosing to work for companies where their values aligned. Increasingly, if you want great people on your team, you’ll have to explain to them what you stand for, what impact you want to have.

For both your employees and your customers, you need to be clear about the impact that you want to have. What do you value? How do you want to show up in the world? What do you want to contribute?

With that kind of clarity, you can focus your business around impact. Through deliberate implementation, impact is infused throughout the company, so you avoid expensive and embarrassing PR nightmares that decrease your impact.

Author's Bio: 

Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.

Find Ursula on her podcast, Work Alchemy: The Impact Interviews where she interviews impactful entrepreneurs and leaders like Seth Godin and Marianne Williamson, and at WorkAlchemy.com for free resources for you and your business.

This article was originally published at https://www.workalchemy.com/impact-focus-avoid-problems and has been syndicated with permission.