Building a Purposeful Business

Posted by Joseph Sherren on March 27, 2018

Every organization strives to achieve higher levels of engagement and loyalty both from their employees and their customers.  Is it possible for leaders to create that engagement, maintain a competitive advantage, and maximize profits in this climate when people are demanding social integrity?

The answer is yes.  However, it will require creating a culture throughout the organization that supports sustainable thinking and behavior.  It sounds simple, but it is not.

The good news is, my colleague John Izzo and co-author Jeff Vanderwielan, have written a book that shows you how.  It is called “The Purpose Revolution.”  This book explains how a quiet revolution has been brewing around the globe that cuts across geography, generations, and industry.  There is a mountain of change in terms of what employees, customers, and investors expect from businesses with whom they deal.

It’s actually very simple: Employees want a meaningful job where they not only get a fair paycheck, but feel they are making a difference; customers want to consume with less guilt about the impact their purchases have on society and the environment, and investors are beginning to see that doing good is simply smart business.

The following three groups still want what they have always wanted:

  • Employees want respect, a fair salary, and a career path;
  • Customers want quality, innovation, and value;
  • Investors want to earn a reasonable return.

The revolution they write about is in many ways a revolution about achieving it all, not sacrificing one for another.  We want all that is good – and we want our work, our buying, and our investing to help create a more collaborative and inclusive world.  They call this desire for meaning and doing good “purpose.”  

Purpose is defined as an organization’s real reason for existing.  Though the organization may manufacture products, provide services, and generate profits, its entire system revolves around the fundamental desire to make life better now and in the future for all stakeholders, especially customers, employees, society, and the planet.  A purposeful organization is one that has built its culture around the deeper reason for existence.

For years now, doing good has been more of a popular trend that corporate leaders talk about, but avoid any real implementation thereof.  They are now realizing that the future success of their business may depend on creating a purpose-driven mission.

Although profits and balanced budgets are a prime focus for most companies, a purposeful organization is one that that believes profits are the result of fulfilling a purpose that serves to give back.

The book is broken into two parts:

  1. Part one – Harnessing the power of purpose. This section addresses the “why” you should focus on purpose and why most organizations fail at doing this.
  2. Part two – Leading a purpose-driven culture. This section focuses on the “how” you can implement purpose in the culture and in your people.

Corporations derive benefit from society, so they should provide benefit to back to society.  But ultimately, committed leadership is the key to bringing it all together and making it work.

My question for business leaders:

Are all your employees aware of the basic purpose of your company and its positive impact to the customers, the employees, and to the world?


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