With another decade drawing to a close, now is as good a time as any to consider what the world might look like in 2030 — the year the United Nations envisions its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have combated poverty, empowered women and girls, and safeguarded the environment — and the role we play.
But with more goals outlined than we can count on our fingers — ranging from Zero Hunger (Goal 2) to Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8) and Climate Action (Goal 13) — how do we even begin to align a global action plan with our own individual purpose?
Roger James Hamilton can provide some guidance.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Millionaire Master Plan and founder of Genius Group, the world’s largest entrepreneur education business, Hamilton devised the Purpose Test, a simple psychometric-style questionnaire that helps adults and students discover which of the 17 SDG goals align most with their purpose.
Though initially created in 2015 to tie in with the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the test is especially relevant now, in a year so many were forced to pause and reflect as the Covid-19 pandemic raged.
On making the test available on his edtech platform, GeniusU, Hamilton says: “From my experience, if people are given more than one focus, they are likely to do little or nothing, so the development of the Purpose Test was to create an easy way, that anyone could do, to help them identify what SDG they wanted to primarily support. It gives direction and focus, and this affects real impact.”
In just eight clicks, this writer, for instance, was analysed to have SDG Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities as her “Number 1 purpose”.
“When you are driven by your purpose, every day becomes meaningful and you begin to measure your progress by what you give more than what you get,” the accompanying report goes on to inform. “And finally, when you align your business to your purpose, you will attract a more motivated and loyal team, who will be more fulfilled in their work and — in turn — will lead you to be more fulfilled in your leadership.”
To discover which SDG goal aligns with your purpose, take the test here.
Continue reading to glean insights from Hamilton on leading companies with purpose.
How did you discover that your entrepreneurial calling was the entrepreneur movement?
I have been business focused for as long as I can remember, but it really started to make sense when I was studying at Cambridge University and started my first business. I knew that creating a job was how I was going to succeed. Things really clicked for me when I started my first movement company, XL Nation, where the movement was operated by city leaders globally contributing to the entrepreneur movement that I had created.
There were many teachers of entrepreneurship, but no one was building a community. My purpose has always been education, and educating entrepreneurs was exciting for me as I could inform people who wanted to achieve great entrepreneurial stories and build successful businesses.
Even a mentor has mentors. Who are yours?
My mentors have changed over the years depending on where I am at in my entrepreneurial journey; as you may know at each business level, there are different experiences and challenges to any entrepreneur.
My main mentor who has always inspired me over the years is the late Buckminster Fuller (Bucky), who was renowned globally for his outlook on solving the world’s problems. His greatest thought process was to gamify the solutions by creating the World Game, and just before he was about to tell the world how to play, he passed away. This has continually inspired me to continue this legacy in providing the world with a different approach to solving issues and providing future-focused solutions.
While we want to make a positive impact, a lot of times we don’t know how to identify what this impact or social mission is. What’s your advice?
I like to think that everyone has a part of them that is for good. I’d say the best way to find this positive impact is by connecting your purpose to your impact. If you are clear on why you do what you do, you can then support that purpose by creating impact and giving back. This has much more weight than that of just giving to charity, for example.
Our biggest giving partner is Buy One Give One, where instead of giving money, you give impacts to a cause that means something to you. Of course, you pay for these impacts, but it is measured in this way and 100 percent of the impact is donated to the cause, and B1G1 sell business memberships with tools to fund the operations.
Another way to give back is to teach. Provide your knowledge and experience to others inspired by your journey and growth pathway. In any case, you may not hit the mark the first time, but that’s OK, the journey is to fail forward until you find that sweet spot.
Your advice to entrepreneurs trying to balance their product, economic and social missions?
In our ecosystem, we first recognise purpose as the key factor in finding a pathway to one’s success. You can take the Purpose Test on our edtech platform GeniusU to find yours. Our outlook on the juggle is by using what we refer to as the impact meter, which provides a staged level of where you and your business are at, based on your revenue, customers, team and experience, and what you need to do to continue to move up the spectrum.
If you are juggling, then you’re doing what most entrepreneurs do, which is a constant battle of where to focus your time, and you never have enough time because the minute you focus on one thing, another starts to drop. Our impact meter incorporates knowing where you are at and what you need to do to solidify the level you are at, and then what comes next, so it’s not a surprise success or disaster but a strategy to success. During our mentorship programmes, we cover this extensively and measure every step of the way.
With corporate social responsibility (CSR) now almost an expectation of companies, how can CSR initiatives remain authentic and values-driven?
CSR used to be based on what a company or team cared about, and since governments now reward those giving CSR through tax credits, now it seems to be something that companies do, as opposed to how companies create meaningful change.
This of course is not the case everywhere. With a world full of fraud, where do you put your CSR funds where you know it will make the desired impact and change? Over the past 10 years, social media has taken information to the grassroots level, and everyone can be involved at whichever level they wish. Sometimes it’s for good and sometimes it’s to make themselves feel better, and in other cases it’s to have a voice. There is space for all of this in the new world of innovation, and soon more and more regulation will come into play too.
I think that, increasingly, companies need to find the best organisations in a specific space and use them. This creates a healthy competition, but also allows organisations to lead a charge on change with the right support. Authentic CSR starts with the company — by being clear on what their values are and the purpose and impact they want to create, then they can find the best organisations to support in that space.