How to Build a Purpose-Driven Company

TSP • @myTSPnet


Building a purpose-driven company is the key to having a successful organization. People desire to build lives that have purpose and that make an impact. Purpose-driven companies experience many benefits such as increases in job satisfaction, return on investment and consumer affinity. While this approach ultimately drives financial growth by creating a highly engaged and high-performing workforce, it's also a powerful talent recruitment and retention tool. Purpose in the workplace goes beyond personal advancement — it's about how you impact the world.

Modern innovation is fueled by a desire to improve the lives of those around us. Companies such as TOMS Shoes, Whole Foods and Southwest Airlines are prime examples of organizations that acknowledge and abide by this ideal. For each pair of shoes that are sold, TOMS donates a second pair of shoes to someone in need. In addition to donating over 5% of its annual net profits to charitable causes, Whole Foods has been involved in efforts to safeguard the environment and improve food safety, among other initiatives. Similarly, Southwest Airlines, the world’s largest low-cost carrier, makes charitable donations of over $11 million each year, while maintaining its position as an industry leader in fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions.

Having an authentic purpose will give your business the backbone it needs to grow and thrive. Finding purpose in your work may be easier than you think. Outlined below are four guidelines that will help you create a purpose-driven company.

First, begin by envisioning an inspired workforce. Look for a person, team or unit that consistently exceeds the norms. Discover what drives them and how they find inspiration. Provide them with meaningful work that utilizes their unique strengths. Tap into your employees’ potential — every company has a pool of agents with the unmatched potential to change the world. Imagine what would happen if this spread across the entire workforce.

Discovering the purpose isn't as difficult as it may seem. A higher purpose isn't invented, it already exists. The purpose is about something bigger than you — it’s about wanting to make a difference and help others. To discover the purpose, survey the organization and identify the top five values held by employees. If the majority of your employees hold and abide by similar values, it'll be easier to find their sources of motivation and purpose.

Think about the legacy you wish to leave behind and how you want to be remembered. For example, your company may wish to tackle a global issue or problem that aligns with your company’s business interests such as clean water shortages. Ask yourself, “If my company fulfills its purpose, how will it impact the world?”

Instead of abiding by the company’s purpose, mission and values, live by them. The purpose not only explains how the people within an organization are making a difference but also gives employees a sense of meaning. When you find your purpose, your impact and reach will touch the lives of others.

A leader’s most important job is to align the organization with an authentic higher purpose. By engaging with your employees, they'll feel encouraged to try new things, move into deeper learning, take risks and make contributions. To accomplish this, use language that everyone in the organization can understand and articulate. When assigning roles, you must align the employee tasks and expectations with the larger purpose of the organization.

Develop activities that propel your employees toward a specific and measurable goal. For example, having a multi-day cultural orientation can reinforce the company’s purpose. Look for opportunities where you can help employees better understand each other and their mutual purpose within the organization. Companies succeed by building genuine relationships with employees, granting them trust, supporting them in their personal and professional goals and allowing their greatest selves to flourish as a result.

Employee feedback promotes personal and professional growth. By observing and actively listening to your employees, you can clarify expectations and help your employees learn from their mistakes. Ask your employees what's working and what isn't. Take the time to analyze the situation before developing strategies and solutions to encourage a purpose-driven company.

When building purpose-driven companies that inspire and motivate, the potential to improve the world is limitless. Purpose-driven companies attract the best minds, have the most passionate customers, achieve success and change the world. The impact is powerful, not only for individuals but also on the public they serve.