Jim Stengel said it best in his book, GROW: “Purpose mobilizes
people in a way that pursuing profits alone never will.”
According to Stengel’s 10-year growth study involving over 50,000 brands, companies driven by the purpose of improving people’s lives far outperform the competition – so much that an investment in the “Stengel 50” would have been almost 400% more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500!
Higher Purpose Leads To Profit
These companies are driven by “why” they are in business rather than “what” product or service they are offering.
A strong business purpose enables businesses to recruit, unite and inspire all those they touch, from employees to customers, ultimately helping businesses deliver superior profit and growth.
The principle extends across all boundaries – industry categories, B2B, online, retail, services, geography, scale and age of business.
If you’re running your company on EOS, you have a business purpose in the Core Focus of your VTO. It’s your Purpose/Cause/Passion (the reason for your business existence) together with your business Niche.
Are you fired up about it? Does your leadership team infuse the organization with energy around it? Are employees excited about being part of something bigger than themselves?
If your Purpose/Cause/Passion has become a “check the box” item on your VTO, you will miss the bottom line benefits of having a compelling and contagious business purpose.
Here are just a few examples of companies that accelerated growth and profit with an inspiring ideal at the center of the business:
* Hewlett-Packard, considered Silicon Valley’s first technology start-up, was founded in 1939 with the ideal of “Making a contribution to society through technology.”
* Apple, considered the most valuable brand in the world today, wasn’t focused on needing to manufacture the latest and trendiest consumer gadgets in a fiercely competitive marketplace. Its higher purpose was “To empower people to express themselves.”
* Zappos, the online retailer of shoes and other products, has baffled the business analysts with high sales growth along with a higher purpose of “providing customer service that delivers WOW by delivering happiness.”
* Lindt, one of the oldest and most profitable Swiss chocolate makers, has the ideal of “Providing joy through small luxuries.”
* Method, with its green surface cleaners, achieved record growth with its overarching purpose of “Being a catalyst in a happy, healthy home revolution that improves human health.”
Are your people on fire for your Purpose/Cause/Passion? If not, consider the following questions:
Why are you in business?
* Does your company operate around a brand ideal? If not, did it ever?
* What did your founders believe in?
* Why did they get into business?
* What need did they set out to address?
Is your purpose clear?
* What functional and emotional benefits do you convey to your customers.
* Why does your brand exist in a category where customers and consumers have other options?
* Is your organization aligned around a higher purpose?
* Does your organizational structure or accountability chart facilitate the expression of your purpose?
* Do employees in all functions understand it?
* And what help do they receive in order to live it?
Here’s a story that shows how purpose transforms culture:
During JFK’s first tour of NASA, he asked an employee, “What do you do for NASA?” The employee said with enthusiasm, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!” JFK asked, “Wow, what’s your role here?” And the employee responded, “I keep the place clean!”
You see, any job can be seen as meaningful with the right mindset!