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What is a Positive Handprint?

Positive Handprints & The 5Ps of Thriving.

A Positive Handprint is a mark and measure of making a positive contribution in the world.

Positive Handprints are made of the 5Ps of ThrivingPeople, Place, Profit, Purpose, Passion.

A healthy relationship with these 5Ps are the essential ingredients in any venture in order to make it truly sustainably, THRIVABLE, engaging, and NET POSITIVE.
Why are they so essential? It hasn’t seemed that way in the past, in fact, the ‘dog-eat-dog’ model seemed to be working just fine…

Life Cycles, Systems & Change.

While ‘success’ in the industrial age, especially given access to cheap fossil fuels, was all about  ’Efficiency & Scalability’, we are now entering a new cycle, and the formula for success is changing. Last century, human input was often viewed in the same light as machinery, and there seemed little need to look at the greater consequences of our actions, beyond our ability to acquire the resources we craved. Moving forward, keep doing what you’ve always done, and you will NOT get the same results as you did before.

As William Gibson said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”… and so while we are seeing the influence and affects of new working dynamics begin to change the playing field, our old institutions – from business to politics, media to schools & education – tend to be a little slower to realise and respond to these changes. On the surface, it may seem like business as usual. Scratch that surface, however, and you see widespread agitation as the foundations of old stories and models are challenged. Some organisations are scrambling to maintain “power over” (in some cases resorting to desperate measures, see global governments’ responses to publicly-initiated govt ‘transparency’), while others try to come to terms with increasing instability.

Feedback loops are getting shorter.

Shorter feedback loops mean increasing transparency and accountability, and more volatile markets. Agility is currency in these new markets… Yet the kind of agility that ‘dodges bullets’ by twisting and turning their PR machines may well have a limited shelf life.


Technology is part of it, but it’s certainly not the whole picture.

In late 2010, the book SpendShift reported on the findings of the BrandAsset Valuator (BAV) study by Young & Rubicam, (the world’s most comprehensive study of brands). They showed that in the previous 2 years they had seen “the BIGGEST SHIFT in consumer behaviour and sentiment in (the) nearly 20 years” of the study’s history.

The emerging values:

  • strive for CONNECTION
  • earned TRUST
  • seeking CERTAINTY
  • search for a sense of PURPOSE
The Business Case for Positive Handprints.

In 2012 the BrandAsset Valuator report discusses the rise of the “The Citizen Marketplace”, and suggests that while fewer consumers trust brands globally (declining by more than 20% in the last 2 years), “trust is the key to building brand equity“.

Statistics showed that:
25% of people surveyed trusted brands in 2009, down from 49% at the beginning of the decade.
45% cite trust as key to future potential or brand strength, up from 29% in 2001.

The report concludes the following brand imperatives:

  • Trust is the new differentiator
  • There are numerous pathways to trust for companies and brands to pursue based on category requirements and their purpose and values
  • As communications evolve into conversations, social media is moving past social currency to social contract
  • Companies must not think social media, but ‘social as business model’.

The Next Wave of Sustainability – Thrivability.

Many industry experts believe that the next wave of sustainability will come from the business sector.

If earning trust is fast becoming a key to business success and stability in a volatile world, then businesses that align their business models and mission with social values and a sense of higher order purpose will be the ones that are leading the charge in the new economy.

There’s a saying that goes: “Respect existence or expect resistance”.

Businesses will continue receiving increasing unwanted attention and outcries over unsustainable supply chains and poor working conditions for workers when these are sacrificed for hugely disparate profit margins. As a friend put it, “Time and tide have always been the enemy of the oppressor”, and the tides of global culture and digital technologies are giving people more and more options as consumers, producers and activists.

On the flip side, businesses that are aligned with purpose, honour their supply chains, and the environment on which they ultimately depend, are more resilient, have greater stakeholder engagement, and over time will find that the social capital they build will reward them on many levels (including the all-important bottom line).

Preconditions for Thrivability.

What if we had a map for creating a thrivable world?

The 5Ps of Thriving are a map for meeting the needs and wellbeing of whole eco-systems.

We can deep-dive into our definitions and relationships to people, planet, profit, purpose & passion, and ask the questions: “Where is the win-win-win opportunity here? How can I meet my/our needs, as well as the needs and well being of my whole eco-system?”… and in doing so, we can begin to find that the idea that we had to compete to get ahead was a myth all along.

We actually already have the resources and strategies to solve many of the world’s problems. The United Nations estimates that it would take $30 billion per year, over 10 years, to END world hunger. This is about as much as the world spends on it’s military every 8 days, and about as much as the US spends just developing and maintaining nuclear warheads.
At the same time, people all over the world are feeling disempowered. More than 70% of workers in the US say they are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, according to Gallup Wellbeing polls.

When people are engaged, having fun, enjoying a sense of purpose and calling that stokes the fires of fulfilment, when they are both feeling valued; when they are less worried about survival and have more energy for life-affirming, future-creating, and opportunity-increasing pathways… This is when apathy is replaced with empathy & action, and a new world can emerge.

What might we achieve if we’re all focused on making a contribution, instead of fighting for scraps; when our risk management & defence plans mean channeling resources into making friends, not adversaries?

Positive Handprints are about creating our legacy.

Stay tuned to find out more.

What’s your Positive Handprint?


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