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What if you could change the world?

Picture this: a world where catastrophic droughts, rising sea levels, and mass migrations reshape our planet's landscape. It may sound like a scene from a dystopian novel, but according to Steve Kempster, Emeritus Professor at Lancaster University Management School, this could be our impending reality.

In the face of such monumental challenges, Professor Kempster urges business leaders to adopt a 'helicopter' perspective, viewing their organisations not just as profit-driven entities but as agents of change in a rapidly evolving world. He introduces the concept of 'Good Dividends,' a framework that emphasizes responsible leadership and sustainable practices to benefit not only shareholders but also stakeholders and the planet at large.

In this blog post, we delve into Professor Kempster's insights, exploring how businesses can reframe their models to align with a changing world. By focusing on purpose, aligning with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and maximizing 'good dividends' in areas like people, operations, and social innovation, leaders can create lasting impact and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

Challenges Facing Humanity

“Catastrophic droughts, rising sea levels, intolerable pressures on food production and water supply; these are all predicted to cause mass movements of populations. Migration from parts of the US, Mexico, India, the Middle East, Africa and China towards Northern Europe, Canada, Alaska, Siberia and even Antarctica are anticipated during the next few decades. These are some of the huge challenges that face humanity,” says Steve.



“The world is changing. It’s changing in ways so immense that individuals, or individual businesses, may feel powerless to impact. But the concept of ‘Good Dividends’ gives us a model for doing just that.

"It requires us to focus on what it means to be a ‘responsible’ leader. It is responsible leadership that leads to good dividends that benefit all our stakeholders, as well as owners or shareholders. Good dividends begins with the premise that profit is a ‘given’; it’s a business imperative. But here’s the thing. Profit is maximized by maximizing five other good dividends: people, operations, reputation, social innovation and one-planet communities (local and global).

“My question is, how might you re-frame your business model to take account of a changing world and realize all the good dividends?”


Steps in the Process

The question is a big one, but here are three steps that may help you to begin the thought process.

1. What’s the purpose of your business – what’s its contribution to the world?

This is about the expertise and solutions that you bring to your customers, not just the specific products you make or sell. Try and sum it up in a sentence.

2. Take a look at the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

There are 17 goals that the UN set out in 2015 as a means of working towards the end of poverty, to protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Which of the 17 have synergy with your business’s area of expertise or capability? Now re-consider step one. How might the purpose of your business align with one, or more, of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)?



QuoLux™ is proud to take action for UN SDG 4 (target 4.4); UN SDG 8 (target 8.3); UN SDG 9 (target 9b); and UN SDG 12 (target 12.5 and 12.6), and supporting leaders to #InspireBelief, realise their purpose and to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

The SDGs can be realized with strong partnerships within engaged communities that have, at their centre, purpose-led leadership enhancing people and the planet. We are committed to being a proactive partner, stakeholder and business in shaping UN SDG 17 as leverage for all other Sustainable Development Goals.



3. “Leadership is the most influential mechanism on Earth to shape the social condition of people for good and for bad. Leaders of business and many other stakeholders – including governments – must partner together to deliver on their fiduciary duty to develop good dividends – for the business, for the community, and for the planet.

“Good Dividends driven by leadership of purpose and responsibility might be a most tangible way of realising the great potential of business leaders to make a lasting difference, and a legacy to be proud of. 

Businesses have the potential to be the greatest mechanism on the planet to enhance humanity if they can do this profitably and generate dividends for all their stakeholders. 



Think about how you might be able to increase one of the above six good dividends.

  • How can you engage with your employees to develop their sense of purpose in everyday work?
  • How might you develop employee curiosity to pursue innovations in your business to increase the ‘social innovation dividend’ through designing products, services and systems that mutually enhance the business, enrich engagement with customers and are aligned to addressing the SDGs?
  • Perhaps you can increase the ‘operational dividend’ by using employee passion of purpose to design and implement systems to make the best use of resources while enhancing productivity, quality and service?
  • How might you link social innovations and operational efficiencies and savings to advancing your business’s brand and reputation through your engagement with addressing the challenges that face our local and global ‘one planet’ communities?


Next Steps

Now that you've glimpsed the future through the lens of responsible leadership and sustainability, it's time to take action. Here are three steps you can start with:

1. Define Your Purpose

Reflect on your business's purpose and how it can contribute to a better world. Sum it up in a sentence, focusing on the solutions and expertise you bring to your customers.

To understand your leadership orientation with regard to self, the organisation and society, all three need to be aligned and in balance to bring the weight of leadership into enabling the pursuit of Good Dividends and the SDGs. To reflect on your own leadership, you can use our open-source Leadership Mirror here.


2. Align with the SDGs

Explore the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and identify which goals resonate with your business's expertise or capabilities. Consider how your purpose aligns with these goals to drive meaningful impact.

To understand which SDGs align with your business and measure progress in realising value for humanity and the business, you can use our open-source SDG Configurator here.

This tool helps an organisation identify which SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) they can pursue to improve their performance. Additional usage guidance is provided within the tool.


3. Maximize 'Good Dividends'

Dive deeper into the concept of 'good dividends' by focusing on people, operations, reputation, social innovation, and one-planet communities. Identify ways to enhance these dividends in your business to create value for all stakeholders.

To understand how well your organisation is doing in realising Good Dividends, you can use our open-source Good Dividends Audit tool. This tool is used to understand the practices and competencies within the business needed to realise Good Dividends and the SDGs.


By taking these steps, you can transform your business into a force for positive change. Embrace responsible leadership, align with global goals, and maximize 'good dividends' to build a sustainable future for your business and the world.


To find out more about Good Dividends and the open-source tools you can use to benchmark your organisation against them, take a moment to read more here.

Professor Steve Kempster is a renowned expert in leadership learning and development. With a deep commitment to responsible leadership, he challenges conventional views by urging business leaders to adopt a holistic perspective on their organizations and their impact on the world. His work on 'Good Dividends' offers a groundbreaking framework for aligning business practices with global challenges, emphasizing the importance of sustainability and social innovation. Through his research and teaching, Professor Kempster inspires leaders to create positive change that benefits society, the environment, and their businesses, and is a leading Masterclass speaker on our LEAD™, GOLD™ and GAIN™ programmes.



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