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What's Your Purpose?

We love to help leaders and founders uncover and express their purpose, can we help you?

We all love being around like minded people – so when an invitation came for a breakfast with Grant Thornton’s inspirational CEO Sacha Romanovitch to talk about purpose in business, I was on the early train before you could say croissant and jam.

The breakfast catering itself was pretty good, but even more nourishing was the content – a Q&A session between Sacha and David Grayson – professor emeritus at Cranfield School of Management.

Here’s what I took away…

Purpose gives you direction

“Purpose is the North Star your business can navigate towards” says Sacha. Wherever you are on the journey of your business you can find the north star and head towards it. The path itself may not be clear but the destination is.

Ikea needed to find a creative way to re-engage their staff with the founding purpose of the company - to “make a better life for the many people”. A few years of focussing on other campaigns internally had led to a feeling that they’d lost their direction as a company. We worked with them to create a touching drama to bring the old motto to life.

Purpose energises your staff

It’s not just millenials who need a sense of purpose in their work – as your middle aged workers settle in for a longer working life than previous generations, everyone needs something bigger to aim for.  In an ideal setting leaders encourage individuals to be aware of their own personal purpose and work out how it aligns with the company vision.

When Octopus Group re-launched their Behaviours and Values last year, rather than present it as a top-down directive they asked staff to open up about their own personal values and behaviours to help others internalise them too.

Profit is rarely your purpose

It should be a consequence of your purpose, one of the outputs of what you do rather than the mission itself.

Mars Inc have been doing some fascinating work on how to measure the other forms of profit and capital a company accrues alongside existing financial metrics.

Purpose impacts society

CSR should no longer be an add-on but can be woven into the fabric of your purpose. What need in society has your business been set up to solve? What is the area of influence you naturally have?

Octopus Group do support charities, but perhaps more importantly set out to “fix broken industries” and support High Growth Small Businesses in the UK.

Purpose may already be in your DNA – and just needs to be re-discovered. When Christopher Bailey took over the reigns at Burberry, he read through the annals of founder Thomas Burberry. He was so inspired by accounts of workhouse children being given apprenticeships that he re-established an apprenticeship program within the company.

Purpose can be re-defined

First-generation founder-led businesses have an advantage in that their founding vision is nearer the surface. Even so, Johnnie Boden needed help to re-discover his own essential purpose “to make life a little lovelier” ...

If it’s not obviously apparent, your purpose can be re-set – by asking questions of your leaders, your team and your market.

Sacha’s own story of helping Grant Thornton re-define its purpose is an inspiring read…

More than anything Purpose must be authentic. It must be a genuine outworking of the passion, belief and values of the people behind your business – anything less is an empty strapline.

And finally – Communicate your purpose. It’s much more than a marketing tool, but Sacha advocates communicating before you’re ready, using it as a “powerful statement of intent”

We love to help leaders and founders uncover and express their purpose - book a session with Jeremy our Creative Director to see how we could help you.