Be Purpose Driven Not Profit Driven
Can you recognise the highly successful companies (and great leadership) behind these statements?
“With great courage, integrity and love, we embrace our responsibility to co-create a world where each of us, our communities and our planet can flourish” (Whole Foods)
“Democratizing the skies” (Southwest Airlines)
“To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” (Google)
“Making sustainable living commonplace” (Unilever)
“To create a better everyday life for the many people” (IKEA)
“To be the Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online” (Amazon)
What do these statements say about these companies?
That they have a clear, well-defined purpose.
That is the essence of leadership.
Does it matter? Quite simply, YES!
“An organization’s culture of purpose answers the critical questions of who it is and why it exists. They have a culture of purpose beyond making a profit.” – Punit Renjen, Deloitte
It is a fallacy to think that, if an organisation is to remain profitable and to sustain profitability and a competitive advantage, it has to be solely ‘profit-driven’ and that it cannot be both purpose-driven and profit-driven. Executive coaches engage regularly with this important topic.
Having a clear, well-defined purpose is not merely a matter of putting down a few well-chosen, pleasant-sounding words on paper. As these highly successful companies demonstrate, a clearly defined purpose is a critical factor to success. In fact, purpose-driven companies are more likely, as the above examples prove, to be more profitable and to fare better than their profit-driven-only competition.
The reason? A clearly defined purpose:
- Provides clarity of focus and direction
A strong, clear purpose provides an organisation with a clear focus and clarity of direction – ensuring that decisions regarding current and future strategy, product and service offerings, consumer engagement and hiring of new talent are aligned, well thought out and can be consistently and effectively executed.
- Is a strong motivational force
Services to inspire, motivate, engage and mobilize an organisation’s workforce and to attract and retain the best talent – this is especially important for the new generation of employees – in particular the millennial generation and generation z – who are attracted to organisations that are not merely profit-focused, but who create an environment and culture that provides these employees with a sense of purpose and meaning as regards their work.
And ensures that the organisation has a workforce whose values and goals are aligned with that of its purpose – thereby preventing disparate views and ensuring that the organisation and its workforce are working as a cohesive ‘whole’ and team, ensuring successful delivery of the same goals
“I think if the people who work for a business are proud of the business they work for, they’ll work that much harder, and therefore, I think turning your business into a real force for good is good business sense as well.” Richard Branson, Virgin
- Ensures proper deployment of resources
Ensuring that the organisation’s workforce is committing their time and effort efficiently and in the right direction. Ensures that innovation is correctly and efficiently deployed, and that time and money is not wasted on pointless, irrelevant marketing campaigns or on the development of products and services that do not support and are misaligned as regards the organisation’s core offerings and target market.
- Fosters authenticity and accountability
Ensures accountability and authenticity as regards how the organisation conducts itself, how it engages with consumers, how it treats its workforce, how it delivers its products and services. Organisation’s that do not remain true to their stated purpose are quickly ‘found out’ – particularly in today’s social media driven world – resulting in an immediate, and potentially long-lasting damage to their credibility, reputation and ultimately profits.
- Builds strong customer loyalty
Consumer data shows that customers are more attracted to organisations that exhibit a purpose beyond simply making profits. As a result are more likely to be attracted to such organisations, to buy their products and utilise their services and to remain loyal to them – providing a positive impact on the bottom profit-line.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
Your executive and leadership coach is the ideal person to engage on this topic if it resonates with you.