Foreword by Richard Edelman

President and CEO of Edelman

The world is experiencing a crisis in confidence in institutions. Across the more than sixty countries surveyed for the Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in institutions among the general public is under 50 percent. By contrast, trust by informed elites is at the highest levels seen in the sixteen-year history of the annual study.

The most profound gap is in trust in business. In the United States, for example, 70 percent of elites trust business in contrast to only 51 percent of the general public. This antipathy plays out in a populist push against issues crucially important to business, such as free trade, genetically modified foods, and financial services regulation.

But despite skepticism about business’s intent to do the right thing, the general public decidedly trusts business more than government. The gap in many countries we polled is more than 50 percent. Moreover, 80 percent of consumers believe businesses can both make money and improve society.

If business is looked to as a leader in solving society’s ills, it is because of the path paved by people like Charlie Moore.

He is, in my view, a founding father of corporate social responsibility. Charlie’s belief that business must take an active role in improving society is both a function of his intellect and bravery and also a testament to his patriotism. Without his foundational work, the leadership we see today from CEOs such as Apple’s Tim Cook or Howard Schultz from Starbucks might not have come to be.

Charlie’s ability to imagine what is possible comes from his hard work and humility. He was an Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles in 1952, the CEO of three multinational manufacturing companies, the athletic director for Cornell University, and a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

His story is inspiring—especially to the three men who tapped Moore to be executive director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. In 1999, actor Paul Newman, former Goldman Sachs CEO John Whitehead, and real estate developer Peter Malkin formed CECP to address important societal challenges through the power of the private sector. When the three of them met Moore, Newman said, “Well, I guess we have to hire him. How many other CEOs have been gold medal winners?”

Moore brought unbelievable energy and passion to his job. I remember going with him to China, where he was to address one hundred Chinese companies on social responsibility. It was three in the afternoon, and the dreaded jet lag was kicking in for mere mortals like me. Moore was busy handing out his business card, asking the Chinese CEOs to come across for the next CECP conference, telling them about the upside of social responsibility for employee morale and community relations. He took personal responsibility for attracting new members, always starting at the top by asking board members to introduce him to CEOs. He would develop and cherish those relationships with the titans of industry, calling on Jeff Immelt of GE, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, and Klaus Kleinfeld of Alcoa, offering advice and spreading best practices. Upon retiring from CECP in 2013, Moore said his number one goal was to prove to Wall Street that there is a financial benefit to social responsibility—in brand reputation, employee loyalty, and risk mitigation.

The world’s most successful companies today know that social purpose is an absolute must. The example set by Moore and the CECP elevated classic corporate philanthropy with a larger mandate that urged companies to fundamentally change their business practices to be smart and sustainable influences on society.

This is Moore’s legacy and his greatest gift to the world.

The motive behind writing this book:

(Introduction of Running on Purpose by author Charlie Moore)

This book has been written for the individuals out there willing to sprint to the finish line. It’s for those who search for real success in sometimes unorthodox ways. This book is for the principled person who wants to lead with vision, move among influential titans, and believes that traditional pathways must often be ignored in order to discover his or her truest potential.

I’m a sprinter at heart

This means chasing after everything I’ve ever chosen to focus on. It also means holding very little back and maintaining a lead throughout the run.

I’ve been characterized as driven, impatient, enthusiastic, critical, inspired, difficult, generous, demanding, larger than-life, uncanny with the details, loving, competitive, smart, naïve—the list goes on as do the contradictions. But one thread remains that means the world to me. If Charlie Moore is involved, it’s going to move quickly, be a lot of fun, and get done!

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not averse to marathons. Many of the stories in this book are about substantially large undertakings. But I’ll chop a long-distance run into smaller sprints any day.

And let’s face it, life is a marathon. One I’ve been running for more than eighty-five years. Life is not a single undertaking with tightly related events but a series of exciting, swift pursuits full of truth and passion that culminate in a uniquely meaningful conclusion. With each string of purpose-fueled bursts comes a more deeply resilient frame of being.

But in this life, it was action, tenacity, creativity, and principles that carried me forward from one personal form of success to the next rather than my aiming for a distant, hard-to-see goal. How could I know what life would hold or where my abilities were best suited? Plus, there was always so much around me to celebrate.

The result has been a through line of action, joie de vivre, and resilience that anyone can rely on in their own life journey.

In writing this book, I want you to embrace a pursuit mindset for yourself and apply that urgency and purpose to building a better world. I want you to embrace big visions, take swift action, tame risk, pivot based on gut intuition, and overcome challenges along the way. And pass on what you feel and learn to others. 

Let this story be a clue, therefore, not a prescription. Let it inform not only your legacy but also your confidence in the moment. Let it not drift into cold reflection but ignite a warm embrace and a push toward action!

Are you ready to get going?

Then get on your mark.

Get set.

Let’s go!