Leading experts seem to be in no doubt that businesses who are able to communicate a higher organisational purpose enjoy great success and are the most resilient in the face of adversity. The reason for this is that stakeholders – principally customers, suppliers and the workforce – will be able to see that the business is operating for the greater good. They can see that what the business is striving to achieve will make the world a better place.
A well known and often cited example is The Body Shop. They sell body and bath products just as many other stores do. When they started out they managed to differentiate themselves by communicating a message that their purpose is to protect the environment. With today’s strap line of “Enrich not Exploit” they clearly set out their aims to help protect our planet. For those who interact with the business it creates a feeling that we are contributing in some small way. Businesses with a purpose need people who are one hundred per cent committed to the cause. Any actions or words that do not align can have a damaging and, sometimes, catastrophic effect on the business.
All business are reliant on the people that work for them but in a purpose driven business it is even more critical that everyone is aligned to that purpose. It begins with the leaders. This means the directors and shareholders of the business and the managers. It relies on managers hiring people who share in the higher organisational purpose. It relies on managers who show that they believe in the higher organisational purpose. It relies on managers being able to inspire and encourage their teams to produce the best work possible.
If you would like to join the discussion about how your business can differentiate itself and how you can become a purpose driven leader you may be in joining Yvonne Hardiman’s Managing People Community