Dr Elena LimniosBy Dr Elena Limnios

As we look to 2020 and beyond, what are the unique opportunities for the CME sector? The latest Edelman trust barometer confirms an era of distrust in government, businesses, the media and NGOs. However, more than ever before, employees want to work for organisations that can be trusted to contribute to a higher purpose. Furthermore, some 76% of respondents globally are looking to business and CEOs in particular, with an expectation for them to lead change instead of waiting for government to impose it. There are high expectations that CEOs will embody the values and mission of the organisation they lead.

Corporations are reaping this opportunity and are aggressively moving into the purposefulness space, going through what the latest Harvard Business Review article by Malnight et al. calls an “internal discovery” processes for determining your purpose, which can be “retrospective”-making sense of the firm’s past- or unashamedly “prospective”, effectively attempting to recreate a firm’s reason for being.

The opportunity is now for purpose-driven business and thus for the CME sector to take centre stage.

With solid research data to stand on, and updated Federal Legislative frameworks in place, the time is now to fight the AWARENESS battle. Very little is understood about the CME sector within the broader community. Millennials in particular will give you a blank stare, including some of the brightest Commerce university graduates. That is not too dissimilar when speaking with highly qualified executives outside the CME sector. The sector has been strategically “stuck in the middle”, between the IOF and NFP sectors, with very little to no brand recognition as a distinct, purpose-driven business model. The impact of that is multifaceted, a missed opportunity to build member loyalty, attract new members, and engage from a position of strength with other stakeholders. It is also a missed opportunity in attracting talent as employers of choice. Like any battle, this is one best fought collectively, with strong allies and aggregated resources.

Of course one aspect is raising the sector’s brand awareness based on facts and figures and a lot of creative engagement, the other is implementing purpose-driven strategies that actually translate a CME’s purpose into action. Imagine the power of CEOs within the CME sector transforming the leadership agenda, defining their individual purpose as a leader, and communicating how they put it to work. Seeing purposeful leadership within purposeful organisations, seeing a clear link between purpose and strategy and how that translates to impact. Now that is powerful.


Elena Limnios is a speaker at the 2019 BCCM Leaders Summit. It’s not too late to register to join Elena and expert researchers, recruiters and co-op executives for a roundtable discussion on the ‘Employer Brand’ at the Summit.


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