In a virtual workshop with fifty executives, from diverse organizations, we explored their most authentic concerns around the process of imbuing an organization with purpose. I asked the executives to share their core stories from their own purpose journey. I heard many wonderful, real life experiences, and together we linked their observations to the principles of ideal action.
As I continually invited input, a CEO shared his experience. He has a candy company that operates in three countries. Over a long period of searching, he and his people discovered and articulated their highest purpose; “Bringing Sweetness to Life.”
I liked the phrase. It was catchy. Yet I wondered if it was a marketing line or an authentic purpose. Within seconds the answer came. The CEO said that the line governs his every decision. It shapes how the organization relates to employees, managers, suppliers and customers. It has given rise to a single culture that spans three continents.
Then the CEO made one more statement. It was a declaration that convinced me that the purpose was authentic. He said, “I never stop repeating it; this very morning, I said it at least four times.”
In imbuing an organization with purpose, the key is authenticity. A cute marketing phrase is not an authentic purpose. Unless the purpose is the arbiter of every decision, the statement is hypocritical. An indicator of authenticity is constancy. In a company of higher purpose the leader is like a broken record. In conversation after conversation, the leader refers to the purpose, because every decision is governed by the purpose.
- Does your team have a higher purpose?
- Is the purpose the arbiter of every decision?
- Do you repeat the purpose in every decision-making conversation?
- How can we use this passage to create a more positive organization?