I’ve been a business owner and creative entrepreneur for nearly 17 years. I’ve built some pretty amazing companies and made some catastrophic decisions along the way. In my mind, business is one of the greatest adventures any of us can participate in. It’s the biggest creator of value and wealth on the planet and when it’s done with authenticity, purpose and compassion it can do a huge amount of good.
As we re-cast our ideas about the purpose of business (it’s not just about making money) we look towards the concepts of ‘business as a force for good’ and ‘profits with purpose’ as new strategic frameworks we can re-engineer our businesses around.
COMPANIES WITH A PURPOSE ARE MORE PROFITABLE
I use the word re-engineer with great intent, as I truly believe that just like engineering has core principals so to does marketing. The best and most successful companies of our generation put PURPOSE at the heart of their business. Research from Harvard Business Review (HBR) backs this up by saying that companies with a strong sense of purpose out-perform their sector (financially) by at least a factor of x 10. That pretty hot stuff right?
Whether you’re a start-up, a medium sized business or a giant global corporation finding your true sense of purpose is a strategic imperative.
WHAT IS PURPOSE?
Purpose is often defined as the reason WHY a company exists – above and beyond making a profit! It forms a key part of the PURPOSE / MISSION / VISION (PMV) framework. When it’s articulated well and executed with authenticity and integrity it becomes the wind in your company’s sails.
When articulating your company purpose it’s best to try and frame it beyond any impact you can make in your market sector or category and try and answer the question: “What meaningful change or difference do you want to see in the world?”
WHAT IS MISSION?
When you have articulated your Purpose (the reason WHY your company exists) and importantly why anybody should care; your MISSION then becomes the strategy you need to action in order to fulfill your Purpose i.e. the WHAT and HOW.
Whilst your Purpose should never change, your Mission should be a fluid concept that bends and twists dependent on market and economic factors.
WHAT IS VISION?
The final link in the PMV framework is articulating your vision. Your Vision should answer the question: “How will the world look/be different if you have successfully executed against your sense of Purpose?”
Vision is normally given an extended time-line of 15-20 years, especially if your purpose is truly world changing. Along the way companies create a series of financial goals and milestones to make sure they stay on-track.
YOUR BRAND IS A STORY
We are all aware of the hyper-connected and uber-transparent world we live and work in. We are faced on a daily basis with mind-boggling amounts of messages, adverts, information, emails, tweets, posts etc. More than ever customers are looking for ways to short cut their decision-making challenges.
By having a clear and compelling Purpose you are creating a powerful storytelling platform and narrative for your business that helps not only galvanise your employees but also gives an emotional context to your business and creates a plethora of conversation opportunities across social spaces.
THE RISE OF THE CONSCIOUS BUSINESS
As part of re-thinking your business using the PMV framework, many companies get a much clearer sense of their own values and why they matter. The PMV framework is often the catalyst for leadership teams to re-invent their business around a more profitable, purposeful and compassionate way of doing business. Anybody interested in this view of the world should check out the Conscious Capitalist movement online and read the book Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey.
If you believe your business could benefit from some fresh thinking then you might be interested in the bespoke (one day) PURPOSE + MISSION + VISION workshop I run for ambitious leadership teams in Start-ups through to Global corporations.
Good luck in your great adventure.
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OTHER CRUCIAL FACTORS
There are several other demographic reasons why developing a sense of purpose can accelerate your growth:
1: We are becoming more conscious
Research shows that as consumers and business buyers we are far more ‘conscious’ about the brands and companies we chose to work with. We are constantly looking for companies that align with our own beliefs and views on the world.
2: We are becoming more compassionate
It’s no big insight that we are getting older, but what is interesting is a concept called the ‘emotional centre of gravity.’ The mean/average age of individuals in the major western counties is starting to creep past 40. The average American and British person is 40. The average Japanese person is 46, and the average German is 47. What psychologists tell us is that when we pass the landmark age of 40 our personal value systems change. They become less about us and money and self-interest and more about family, legacy and value.
3: We are becoming smarter
The Flynn effect indicates that the average IQ of people in developed nations has increased by approx 4 points per year for the past 50 years. If this is true then psychologists speculate that by being more intelligent then we are more aware of the social and environmental issues around us.