Create a perpetual tailwind

There are five principles you need to commit to and master if you want to create a competitive edge with circular economy and create a positive environmental impact: Mindset – Mission – Roadmap – Implement – Communicate. And in that order.

If you can’t honestly tick all five boxes, then this is your job for the next 6 months. Follow through and you will get results!

In five articles I will introduce each of the principles, so you can accelerate your journey, get success and impact the world in a positive way.

Will be happy to answer questions along the way.

Circular Business Success, part II – Mission

Imagine you are on your bike riding through the countryside. You have a tailwind that pushes you forward and makes the trip kind of effortless and joyful. So much easier than with a slight headwind, right? That is what being recognized for contributing to something bigger than yourself feels like for a business.

If you take any group of people and help them find their purpose and they will all end with something that somehow either relates to people or the ecosystem. I would claim that they can be boiled down to perhaps as few as 15-30 different issues if you stretch them a bit. No one will have a purpose to own 10 large houses, the greatest car, or any other thing or amount of money. So, when you connect to the bigger course that you feel is the right one for you, you will instantly gain the compassion of a large proportion of the people in your marketplace – the ones that sympathize with the bigger course that you contribute to. That will be a significantly larger group of people than would otherwise cheer on your business.

Find your bigger course and contribute through the way you do your business and will have created your own perpetual tailwind.

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”

Alice in Wonderland

You’ve probably heard that quote before. I find it quite precisely describes what happens to a company that lacks a clear mission. If you don’t know where you’re going, it is difficult to make sure you take steps in the right direction. It will be like a pilot trying to take off not knowing what airport he or she want to go to.

That is why a mission statement is critical. It will be a guiding star for you and the decisions you have to make. And for your employees, for partners, and for customers to evaluate if you are on a path similar to them and thus someone to pursue a collaboration with.

In the world today, there is increasingly an expectation that companies are benefitting and contributing to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. And if you have not defined and articulated it, people have no way of understanding it. If you shy away from communicating it, you will come forth like an old fashion company only thinking about yourself and not contributing to making the world a better place. That is why today you must have and communicate a mission statement.

You must be clear on where you are heading and how you as a company contribute. As a leader, and maybe owner, you must own it and truly want to be about more than just making a profit and delivering a good service. Because your company exists and operates, the world must become a slightly better place in some form. What that form is and where you choose to focus is your choice, as long as you take part in solving some of the major problems in the world, be it environmentally or socially. Unfortunately, there are plenty of issues to focus on and improve.

Since you have read this far in the article, I assume it means you get the picture and agree. So, perhaps you just have that one small “how-question”. How do I find my mission? What is it I need to do? Where can I make a difference? And where do I want to make a difference?

I have created a simple three-step process called “Northern Star” that you can use to answer these questions.

Nothern Star three-step process

Step one – Who are we?

You can look at this step as the logical approach. What is it we do? What problem er we solving? Where do we add value today to our customers, our community, our partners, our employees, and the world around us? A traditional SWOT analysis – Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threads – can be useful here if you feel you lack clarity on these questions.

You can also look back at your history and origin story. Why was the company founded? What have you achieved and why?

Finally, what is your current strategy and what direction are you planning to take the company in? The ideal mission will build on the best you have to offer, the strength you have, and support and accelerate your journey towards the company you want to become. And then elevate that picture into something even more desirable and appealing.

All together this should make you capable of answering the question Who are we?

Step two – Why are we here?

Building on the logical answer from step one this is the purpose-oriented part. Why do we do it? What is the bigger course we are serving? Odds are that you have not previously seen yourself and your company as someone part of a bigger course. You might build pumps for drinking water systems without seeing yourself as part of a larger picture of securing clean water for everybody. Or you produce something that is not as directly tied to a larger issue e.g., you produce plastic components for offshore safety equipment or you are a shared office space for all kinds of companies. Thus, you might ask yourself what does my business have to do with any larger problem? What could I be contributing to? Where can I make a positive impact?

There are many ways you can decide on what larger course you will contribute to. I have helped companies where the answer lay in the owner’s private sphere and was a matter of helping him connect what was important to him privately with the core of his business and an outlook of the future. What is important to you?

If you want a slightly more systematic approach, I will recommend using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – the SGD’s. They consist of 17 goals (16 focus areas/problems and one about collaboration for the goals) that have been developed to pinpoint the largest and most important issues to tackle before 2030. You could say they are a menu of the most important issue for you to choose and connect to and work for.


You can read more about them and the specific goals if you go to

I recommend you choose two. One with your head that is associated with what you do and one with your heart associated with your passion.

And then finalize this sentence for each of them: I choose this goal because….

And remember it is not about you or your business – it is about something bigger.

Let me give you an example using myself. I choose #12 “Responsible consumption and production” for the head because it is at the core of what I do and an essential tool to achieve many of the other goals and furthermore the best tool to turn businesses into a force for good.

For the heart, I choose #8 “Decent work and economic growth” because no one should spend their life working somewhere not meaningful. Integrating circular economy in the company equals adding meaning and a higher level of contribution and innovation and it will make your job more meaningful and stimulate your growth.

To assure you are on the right track you answer this key question – WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?


  • For me
  • For my family
  • For my audience
  • For my clients
  • For my team
  • For the world
  • For my legacy


Look at the answers you provided. Are you happy with them? Do you feel excited when you read them? Can they get you to stay up late and get up early? If so, you are on the right track. If not ask yourself why not and go back to step 2 and re-do the exercise.

If it still does not leave you excited, you will need some assistance and a slightly more elaborative process. I can help you with that if you like.

Step three – where do we want to go?

By now you should have a strong picture of who you are and why you do what you do. Now it is time to look further down to road to anchor it all somewhere in the future. Setting a target or defining where you want to go. How bold do you dare to be? What will excite you and make you proud to work to achieve?

If you like you can call this the legacy step of the three-step process. What do you want to be remembered for? Again, you find a range of different techniques and processes to help you here. If you know any you like, just go ahead with that one. Here are two simple exercises you can do.

The reporter: Imagine yourself sometime in the future – say 10 years from now. You have worked hard and been really successful at pursuing the purpose you defined in step two and because of all the significant results you and your team have been creating you have been chosen as the most important businessperson of the year by the most important and influential media you can think of. You are being portraited as the hero they see you as. What would the reporter write in the article?

Your funeral: Go way into the future. You have lived a long and successful life creating a significant positive impact on the world. You pass away and a lot of people are gathered to honor you at your funeral. A close friend and long-term business partner stand up to give a speech about you and what you have meant for the world. What would he say?

However you choose to go about it is about deciding on a destination that you will aim for and want to be known for pursuing.

The final step

Once you complete this three-step process the only thing left is to wordsmith it. Here are a few sentence starters that can help you:


  • We are on a mission to…
  • The reason we exist is to ….
  • Our singular focus is to …
  • We are here to…


Play around with it and test the results you come up with amongst your ideal customers and people in your business community. Once you start to get signals of interest, understanding, and admiration you know you are on the right track. Don’t worry if you don’t hit a home run right away. Most people don’t. I will mature and grow, and you will know when it feels right.

When you get this right, you will have something that functions as a magnet for opportunities, partners, talent, and clients – providing that you live it and continuously demonstrate progress.

Whatever you do, do something.