A fundamental principle if you want to do purpose well in your company is to look after your profit.
Note that “look after” is not the same as “maximise”.
Ruth Hartnoll, co-founder and CEO of [Matchstick Creative](https://matchstickcreative.co.uk/), has seen what that looks like up close! In this episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast, she tells the (nearly) 5 year story of Matchstick Creative’s journey from a business which was started because the founders believed it would be a better way to do the kind of work they wanted to do, to where it is today as a highly focussed purpose and values-led agency.
We talk about how that transition came about and the injection of belief that an agency could very much lead with its values and succeed (hello Greg Macoy!).
We dive into leadership, and the importance of experience and exposure at an early age to smooth the trajectory to leading when you’re working, and how Ruth is explicitly passing on the privilege she had through that exposure to girls that she’s supporting define their own paths.
We also discuss the sales/profit versus purpose conundrum, and how effective positioning and messaging helps to pre-qualify prospects for Matchstick.
We get some very practical experience on how Matchstick have implemented purpose. I love how when looking at HR policy, Ruth asks her HR advisor 2 questions: “What’s the compliant version? OK, so now what’s the Matchstick version?”. How in replying to tenders, Matchstick will often ask their prospective client up front to articulate the social impact that they believe the project is going to have.
Ruth is remarkably open about the things she’s learned along the way getting Matchstick moving – warts and all. Founder issues. Sales issues. Team issues. If you’re growing a company and feeling somewhat out of your depth or as if you’re having to find things out as you’re doing them, Ruth’s openness is both refreshing and reassuring.
This is a wonderful episode from a company that, although 5 years old and going, looks to have a really positive future under her leadership.
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