Power of Purpose-Driven…Business, Leadership, Management: Focus on– Reason to Exist, Vision, Mission– It Really Matters…

Purpose (purpose-driven) is the single most distinguishing reason for the existence of an organization, and the impact it seeks to make on the world… Once uncovered, like flip of light switch, purpose illuminates everything in its path.

Purpose defines and drives all organizational activities– innovation, creativity, policy, structure, culture, communication, processes… Purpose aligns stakeholders and the organizational mission, strategy, ideals… it’s the essential that impacts both top and bottom line performance, growth, change…

Purpose empowers  organizations to make a difference in people’s lives… Only purpose-driven businesses can give a well articulated– reason, mission, vision… for their existence; beyond the traditional– profits, shareholder value…

Purpose must be clearly defined, authentic and aligned with business strategy, which enables a meaningful engagement with stakeholders; employees, customers, communities… 

The predominant characteristics of an organization with purpose are; focus, clarity, motivation, fulfillment… However, many businesses today resemble boats lost at sea, and the few that are successful follow the light coming from a singularly bright idea… According to Craig Ballantyne; purpose breeds trust, speeds decision-making, engages team members and customers, develops leaders, helps branding and promotes company change… Simply ask the question: Why is my company in business? What would the world lose if we were to disappear?

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Visionary companies have purpose beyond profit as fundamental reason for existence… According to Roshan Thiran; if doctors were asked what the central purpose of their profession is, they would answer: To save lives. If scientists were asked the same question, they would respond: To make new discoveries or  to better the world. Ask teachers and they would respond: To educate the next generation…

But, what happens when the same question is asked of business people? While, a CEO might say it’s the pursuit of profit… others say it’s about maximizing shareholder value… Unlike other professions, many business leaders simply don’t have an over-arching purpose of why they do what they do… According to Simon Sinek; leaders who want to succeed should straight forwardly communicate what they believe in and why they’re so passionate about their cause…

Most people know what they do and how they do it, but few communicate why they’re doing it. People don’t buy what you do; they buy into why you do it… You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with ‘what’ you want them to do. You must first communicate ‘why’ it’s important… Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of ‘why’ they do what they do and ‘why’ people should care. Only then will you inspire people and attain sustainable success…

In the article Purpose-driven Leadership by Di Worrall writes: Far from being touchy-feely concepts touted by motivational speakers– purpose and values are key drivers of high-performing organizations…

In their book ‘Built to Last’, James Collins and Jerry Porras reveal– that purpose and value driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively...

In their book ‘Corporate Culture and Performance’, John Kotter and James Heskett found that firms with shared-values–based cultures enjoyed 400% higher revenues, 700% greater job growth, 1,200% higher stock prices and significantly faster profit performance, as compared to companies in similar industries…

In his book ‘It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand for’, Roy M. Spence Jr. found that leaders who have a clearly articulated purpose and are driven to make a difference can inspire people to overcome great odds… There’s an enormous satisfaction in seeing the cultural transformation that happens when an organization is turned on to ‘purpose’.

According to Colleen Barrett; don’t ever take a job; but join a crusade! Find a cause that you can believe in and give yourself to it completely… In a company without purpose, people have only a vague idea of what they’re supposed to do. There’s always activity and busyness, but it’s often frenetic, disorganized and focused solely on short-term goals. There’s a lack of direction and commitment to purpose…

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People enjoy being engaged in meaningful work. Humans, by nature, are a passionate species, and most of us seek out stimulating experiences. Companies that recognize this and actively cultivate and communicate a worthwhile corporate purpose are employers of choice…

A major Gallup research study identified 12 critical elements for creating highly engaged employees. About half deal with employees’ sense of belonging. One of the key criteria is captured in the following statement: The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important… After basic needs are fulfilled, an employee searches for meaning in a job. People seek a higher purpose, something in which to believe. If, in your role as leader, you aren’t articulating what you care about and how you plan to make a difference, then you probably aren’t inspiring full engagement.

To tap into full engagement, leaders must clearly identify and articulate what truly matters to the company: Why are we in business? What difference are we making in the world? What’s our most important purpose? According to John Mackey; employees can get very excited and inspired by a business that has an important business purpose… A company purpose starts with its leaders and works its way through the organization. It shows up in products, services, and employee and customer experiences…

According to Seth Godin; mission statements used to have a purpose. The purpose was to force management to make hard decisions about what the company stood for. A hard decision means giving up one thing to get another… When a mission statement is well written, it serves as a declaration of purpose. But corporate mission statements are often little more than a descriptive sentence about products, aspirations or desired public perceptions. They’re more powerful when they clearly and specifically articulate the difference your business strives to make in the world.

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In the article Purpose-driven Business: Mission Matters by Jan Bruce writes: Success as a leader, visionary, executive… isn’t just the sum of all you do in any given day or even in a given year– excellence isn’t a list of to-do’s. The way to excel in business is the degree to which you are purpose-driven: The ‘why’ matters more than just the ‘what’…

According to Tony Tjan; there are many ways to make a billion dollars: real estate, investing, gaming and entertainment, retail, technology, and good old-fashioned inheritance. But the most interesting (and most respected) businesses and personalities are also the ones with the strongest and most authentic purposes behind them…

Purpose, isn’t a lofty thing, not some luxury that only billionaires can afford. In fact, if you want to grow and grow big, you can’t do it without a strong mission to get you there... However,  purpose is no guarantee you’ll be a billionaire (of course), but you can’t build something powerful and meaningful without it… According to Lisa Earle McLeod; this idea that emotions don’t belong in the workplace is total bunk… people want an emotional connection with their work. In fact, I’ll take it a step further; people are desperate to be part of something bigger than themselves… We know that the higher level of connection with a purpose the greater the resilience…

Purpose is the thing that will keep you afloat, and if you have it, you can get through just about anything… The purpose of leadership is to create that– noble mission-purpose, then embed it and embody it in the organization’s culture… It’s not enough to print it up on a symbolic ‘mug’– you must make it real. Nothing will disillusion employees, customer… like an organization that only pays lip service to an ideal without doing the work to make it true…

According to Lisa Earle McLeod; people want to make money, but they also want to make a difference… creating a culture of purpose is how you do both… According to some experts; employees can engagement in their organization at three levels:

  • Level 1: Most basic and least involved: You’re there for pay and benefits. End of story.
  • Level 2: You’re there because you enjoy the work and the people you work with. It’s a good place to be and you don’t hate being there. For some, that’s as good as it gets.
  • Level 3: You’re there because you believe you are contributing to something important. You’re aligned with a mission, and your actions, your hard work, has a purpose.

In the article Purpose-Driven Leadership – Focus on What Matters by Dr. Maynard Brusman writes: People strive to be engaged in meaningful work, and humans, by nature, are a passionate species and most of us seek out stimulating experiences. Companies that recognize this behavior and actively cultivate and communicate a worthwhile corporate purpose; become employers of choice…

According to Helen Keller; many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes happiness… it’s not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose… You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with ‘what’ you want them to do… You must first communicate ‘why’ it’s important… Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of ‘why’ they do what they do and ‘why’ people should care. Only then will you inspire your people to attain sustainable success.

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Simply put, the purpose-driven concept is based on the principal– when given a purpose the employees strive to do more for the company because they feel more valued. According to Rich Karlgaard; purpose-driven companies have a huge competitive advantage… Employees and customers are hungry for purpose. Yes, employees want jobs. Yes, customers want deals. But even in a recession, we all want more than that. We want to feel that our lives have a deeper meaning that goes beyond paychecks and discount shopping… we want purpose…

According to Charles Prabakar; strategy without purpose is like kicking the ball to the goal post without knowing where the goal post is. In other words, if strategy is the compass, then purpose is the guiding light. At best, strategy is just a set of smart paths to a destination, whereas purpose is the journey in it by itself. Purpose is something that we need as part of our DNA; purpose is what drives us, ignites our passion and gives us the hope and reason for our existence. Strategies are about the means and they cannot be an end in itself.

The challenge today is that many corporations are not lacking strategies, they lack a reason for existence– they lack ‘purpose’. The sooner you understand the difference between the vanilla business models and purpose models and the importance of a purpose-driven strategic mindset, the better strategic decisions you will make to move the business from good to great– statistics shows purpose-driven businesses have always outgrown the ones who don’t have a formal purpose agenda…

According to W. Clement Stone; when you discover your mission you feel its demands  and it fills you with enthusiasm and burning desire to get to work on it…