Much like what a foundation is to a house, a conductor is to an orchestra and a canvas is to an artist’s masterpiece - a clear purpose is everything to an organisation. It is an organisation’s soul and identity, providing both a platform to build upon and a mirror to reflect its existence in the world. It articulates why an organisation exists, what problems it is here to solve and who it wants to be to each human it touches through its work.
While it’s not the first time in history that businesses are pondering why they exist and who they are to their customers, the current trend shows that businesses are using purpose to create deeper connections with consumers, do more for the communities with which they work, attract and retain talent. In doing so they are achieving greater results and impact in the process.
Not every organisation views purpose as an all-encompassing ideal. Some consider it merely a tool to advertise who they are and what they stand for to capture more market share. Others believe selling quality products at the lowest price point is the only thing that really matters to consumers.
Whilst we acknowledge instances of successful companies in the market aligned with this thinking, what separates purpose driven businesses from the rest are longevity and authenticity. Companies that lead with purpose and build around it can achieve continued loyalty, consistency and relevance in the lives of consumers. Those that fail to identify and articulate their purpose may survive in the short term, but over time, people are likely to demand more.
Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow on average three times faster than their competitors, all while achieving higher employee and customer satisfaction. Today’s consumers often identify with a brand’s purpose, seeking to connect at a deeper level even as the brand reciprocally aligns with who they are and who they want to be.
Cheat Sheet for Leading with Purpose
Be authentic: Allow time for your people to reflect on the role of purpose in their day-to-day work.
Create a CTA: Leverage purpose to rally the workforce around a common goal.
Show real impact: Use data and insights to truly demonstrate how you’re accomplishing your goals. Move beyond reporting inputs and outputs to showcasing outcomes and telling stories about what you achieve.
Lead with empathy: Understand what makes people across your organisation and customers tick and why they support your brand. Walk in their shoes to inform and understand how your purpose impacts who they are.
See consumers as more than consumers: People using and buying your product or service are active stakeholders, investing hard-earned money, time and attention in your brand. Use data and insights to understand what they value and connect it to your purpose.
Remember, by leading with purpose, being authentic in how you tell your story and articulating their impact, focusing on all humans and by imbibing empathy, you will outpace your competitors and leave an impact on everyone you touch!