I have been very lucky over the last year or so to be working with a brilliant and inspirational human being; his name is Phillip Ullmann, he is the Executive Chairman of The Cordant Group. It's one of the largest recruitment organisations in the UK with a turnover of nearly £1billion.
What is remarkable about Phillip is that over the last few years he has become passionate about social enterprise and the development of a new model of doing business. Cordant is in the process of becoming one of the largest social enterprises in the UK, committed to investing the vast majority of its profits back into society.
Phillip wants to use the strategy to create what he calls "delight". He wants to ensure that the thousands of people, who work with and for Cordant, feel that they have a real future through the creation of opportunity, education, training, personal and professional development and a real chance to make a difference to their own lives and of those close to them.
Now on one level this may feel like philanthropy; another rich business person "doing good". I believe that it is much, much more than that. As a former teacher, like all of my colleagues working in education, we are driven by the idea of empowering, enlightening and helping to create aspiration and a sense of purpose in the students we are privileged enough to work with. I see that in what Cordant are trying to achieve. I confess that I really didn't know much about social enterprise before working with Phillip but I genuinely think that it will be a major part of the future for all of us and our organisations.
I have felt for many years that in order for the planet to stand a real chance of a positive and sustainable long-term future, we need to create a greater sense of universal hope and aspiration in order to discover and nurture global potential and talent. I think investing back, properly and with integrity, in our work force is one of the ways to do that.
What has become really clear is the pattern I see in the world's most successful organisations; they are all committed to the development of their people, to the promotion of hope and aspiration and to focus on something far, far deeper than simply the accumulation of wealth.
Find out more about Social Enterprise here.