The Great American Mark Twain said “the two most important days of your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” I would argue that the same can be said about the life of your company. Purpose is powerful. So powerful, in fact, that no great company culture can exist without it. A culture without purpose is like a house without a blueprint. It’s possible your ultimate vision sees the light of day, but the odds are stacked exponentially against it.
For centuries, and clarified again in the 60s by Nobel-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, the one and only social responsibility of business was to make money — and as much of it as possible. By comparison, the thought of a company being driven by purpose is something relatively new, and, to many, an idea that’s a bit soft.
Clearly, profitability is still key to every company and brand no matter how big or small. Without it, we can’t do the things we want and need to do. But as directing your team toward a higher purpose – something bigger than the company itself – continues to gain more and more traction every year, it begs greater consideration. And for good reason. Purpose-driven companies grow faster. They develop and maintain more meaningful company cultures. And they retain more talented people than companies that don’t. Just ask the experts.
From EY. “In the context of the corporation, this mindset essentially reflects a growing desire by stakeholders at all levels in organizations to have a purpose beyond the balance sheet: one that contributes a positive impact in the wider world. Indeed, today 90% of executives recognize the importance of having “an aspirational reason for being which inspires and provides a call to action for an organization…and provides benefit to society.”
From Deloitte. “Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving higher workforce and customer satisfaction.”
From McKinsey. “Employees expect their jobs to bring a significant sense of purpose to their lives. Employers need to help meet this need or be prepared to lose talent to companies that will.”
From Bain. “In truth, purpose has never been more important. Covid-19 thrust corporate purpose to the forefront, showing how critical it is to any organization’s ability to change. People are looking for connection and a higher sense of mission in what they do. A Bain & Company survey of nearly 1,000 global employees of companies of all sizes conducted during the early months of the pandemic found that among employees whose satisfaction with their company had increased, 86% reported that their employer has a purpose that its people are passionate about and find meaningful.”