Goodbye, Buckingham Palace. Hello, Silicon Valley.
On Tuesday, one of Silicon Valley's hottest startups, BetterUp, announced that Prince Harry will become the company's new chief impact officer. BetterUp is a fast-growing coaching and mental health firm that aims to help organizations get the best out of their people.
"I intend to help create impact in people's lives," Prince Harry told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. "Proactive coaching provides endless possibilities for personal development, increased awareness, and an all-round better life."
BetterUp's hiring the Duke of Sussex may seem like a no-brainer, and it is. But it's not because of Harry's celebrity status or royal pedigree.
A closer look at the company's stated mission reveals the true value Prince Harry brings--and it's a great lesson in emotional intelligence.
A perfect fit
BetterUp claims that its goal is not to simply help employees thrive professionally, but rather to help members focus on what's most important to them. That could be working toward a promotion ... but it could also be finding more balance between work and personal life.
Here's where Prince Harry comes in.
There's no doubt the Duke of Sussex brings in a unique set of experiences related to mental health:
He's lived in the limelight and as the focus of intense scrutiny and media attention since birth.
He was only 12 years old when his mother, Princess Diana of Wales, died from injuries sustained in a car crash while fleeing from paparazzi.
He served in the British Army for 10 years, rising to the rank of captain and undertaking two tours of Afghanistan.
And most recently, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, left their roles as full-time working members of the British monarchy--a decision that Prince Harry says was made for his wife's mental health, as well as for his own and that of his son.
When Oprah Winfrey recently asked Prince Harry why he left his royal duties, his answer was clear and simple:
"Lack of support. And lack of understanding."
This would seem to make Prince Harry's new employer a perfect fit. BetterUp's primary focus is on providing personalized coaching, as well as access to therapists and performance experts. According to the company's website, this approach helps candidates identify their own values, strengths, and goals to give them the support they need.
Prince Harry had high praise for his own coach, whom he said he was matched with by the company and provided him with "sound advice and a fresh perspective, which is so valuable."
He explained, "This is about acknowledging that it isn't so much what is wrong with us, but more about what has happened to us over the course of life. Often because of societal barriers, financial difficulty, or stigma, too many people aren't able to focus on their mental health until they're forced to."
He continued: "I want us to move away from the idea that you have to feel broken before reaching out for help."
Of course, leaving royal life behind must have been an extremely difficult decision. But in making that decision, Prince Harry didn't just talk the talk, he walked the walk.
"I took matters into my own hands," Prince Harry told Oprah. "I need[ed] to do this for my family."
True, countless others have prioritized the mental health of their families. But few, if any, have had their trials as publicized as Harry. This puts him in a unique position to offer advice.
BetterUp CEO Alexi Robichaux says that Prince Harry's already having an impact, as he's begun sitting in on strategy meetings and making his voice known. In one recent meeting, shares Robichaux, Prince Harry gave his perspective on how to position a product, recommending to frame the tool in a way that highlights resilience and overcoming adversity.
So, if you're an employer, what can you learn from BetterUp's recent hire?
When bringing leaders from the outside, look beyond education and pedigree. Strive to find someone whose personal values and goals align with the company mission.
Because when it comes to bringing value, there's no replacement for passion and purpose.