A firm’s purpose is the glue that holds it together, that keeps all of its moving parts focused on what it is trying to achieve, indeed, even why it exists. The Purpose Institute defines purpose as “a definitive statement about the difference that you are trying to make.” And that difference is usually rooted in the human condition, not pure profit for its own sake.
Every company should have such as a statement. Companies are more successful when they are articulate a purpose and really drive its importance through its employees. In one study, EY segmented companies by how they well they had implemented a purpose internally. It found that 42% of the “laggards” segment reported declining revenues. And the leading segment was well ahead of the pack in terms of their innovation, market expansion and other measures.
Today, I moderated a panel discussion and workshop for the Conscious Capitalism Boston chapter, for whom I’m volunteering. We moved quickly past “What is purpose?” and “Why is purpose important?” and got a conversation going about “How?” – how does implementing a purpose lead to value-creating behaviors and tough decisions. What we really wanted to hear was how others view the purpose of purpose. It was a fascinating discussion, with lots of active conversations and full participation. I hope to share the wrap-up video later.