Make sure your business has a purpose other than just making a profit. What makes some companies wildly successful while others flop?
Starting and surviving in today’s economy is hard, but the companies that figure it out have something in common: the pursuit of purpose, alongside the pursuit of profit. A purpose mobilizes people in a way that pursuing profits alone never will. For a company to thrive, it needs to infuse its purpose in all that it does.
An organization without purpose manages people and resources, while an organization with purpose mobilizes people and resources. Purpose is a key ingredient for a strong, sustainable, scalable organizational culture. It’s an unseen-yet-ever-present element that drives an organization. It can be a strategic starting point, a product differentiator, and an organic attractor of users and customers.
Here’s how a few organizations have used purpose to achieve great results, and what other organizations can learn from their success.
1. BE AUTHENTIC, NO MATTER WHAT
Ask a group of college graduates their plans after graduation, and chances are none will say: “I want to work for a household goods company.” Yet Seventh Generation, a household goods company, is a top employer of millennials. They manufacture seemingly unexciting products—dish soap, fabric softener, and toilet paper—but the company’s products are authentically imbued with a higher purpose: to inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations.
2. BRING IN THE RIGHT PEOPLE
You can’t force employees to share your purpose. If they don’t, customers will know. It’s better to hire people with a shared sense of purpose. That gives everyone in the organization a common starting point.
nd some time thinking about the range of values and purposes that fit into your company, and create a process that allows you to gather that data before making a hiring decision. Hiring is difficult; firing is even more difficult.
3. CREATE SHARED VALUE
Economic value and social value are not mutually exclusive. Today’s sophisticated business leader recognizes the concept of shared value: creating economic value while addressing social needs and challenges.