Mission statements, organizational values, and vision statements can be pieces of corporate jargon that are posted somewhere on the website or they can be drivers of strategy and behavior.
This article will discuss why your purpose and strategy need to be integrated and how to behave in a way that is in line with your purpose.
Most businesses master what they do and how they do it, quite well. However, they fail at meaningfully identifying why they do what they do. Typically, when a business is questioned about why they do what they do, a boilerplate wishy-washy answer is cooked up. This is also the reason most mission statements sound the same.
They put beautifully sounding words next to each other and call it a mission statement. But, they don’t ask themselves the key question: what does this really mean for business? How does your organization’s purpose change your behavior? How does it determine what you prioritize? Businesses that can’t answer these questions well need to revisit their purpose and rethink how they are embedding purpose with strategy.
This article is a synopsis of the conversation between Cari E. Guittard the Chief Strategy Officer and Partner at purposewerx; Joyshree Reinelt the CEO and Co-founder at Innate Motion; and Shad Raouf our Show Host. Purposewerx is a collective that helps founders make profits purposeful.
If you prefer to listen, click play below.
“If you have values which do not drive your behavior, you haven’t found your values. You have just found something very nice to say about yourself”
So, who do you speak with, observe, and immerse with in a purpose dive? The idea is to broaden horizons as much as possible and not limit who gets a seat at the table. This means even inviting people to the purpose dive that are unlikely to be on your side. Without this holistically collaborative approach, it is unlikely for systemic change to take place. By definition, systemic change affects everyone the system impacts – by leaving people out, you leave opportunities and solutions out. This is the only way for unusual insights to be unlocked.
Empathy is a key component of creating a corporate purpose that will actually be lived up to. Before finding solutions, businesses have to ask themselves: what are the worthy problems we can solve? And the only way to thoroughly answer this question is through empathy. Empathy is embodied through observation, active listening, and being people-centered in the way things are done.
Innate Motion conducts purpose dives to help companies identify a purpose that can be meaningfully embedded within the business’ strategy so that companies can be purpose-led in a way that makes sense for them. The first two parts of the three-part purpose dive are framing and immersion. These are experiences defined by empathy and collaboration. Framing is the part of the process when social listening and observing through a human and cultural lens takes place. Immersion is building a deeper empathy through real and immersed experiences with community members.
Joyshree Reinelt claims that CEOs and other C-suite executives that do not attend the Framing and Immersion parts of the purpose dive aren’t allowed to take part in the Shape stage of the dive. The Shape stage is where everything comes together to create a clear and sharp positioning for the company. This is typically the stage that most C-suite executives tune into the process; however, this is a flawed approach. Executives that don’t exercise empathy before shaping a purpose come to the table disconnected and detached from the opportunities that are on the ground. They are low on excitement and low on insight on how the business can actually bring much-needed changes in a profitable way.
Call for Change
A future where businesses are forces for good in a regenerative economy requires us to question what we’ve taken for granted – like symbolic claims of purpose. Purpose dives are a way to find the challenges that matter and join people in solving them. Every business solves a problem, why not solve problems and make profits in a way that is more intentional and meaningful? Being a purpose-led organization is good for business and good for the people in the business. It lifts morale and feeds the needs for fulfillment.