Purpose at Work
"By acting on their purpose, companies can create more value for their shareholders and society over the long term than by pursuing purely financial goals or a narrowly defined self-interest."
- The State of the Debate on Purpose in Business EY Beacon Institute.
EY Beacon Institute identified five ways purpose enables success.
1. Purpose instills strategic clarity.
In the face of continuous transformation, intense competition and rising expectations, executives describe purpose as a strategic “North Star,” a guiding light for short-term decisions and long-term strategy at every level of an organization.
2. Purpose channels innovation.
By focusing innovation on a compelling “bigger picture,” purpose encourages everyone, from R&D to customer-facing staff, to think beyond incremental product or service improvement.
3. Purpose is a force for and a response to transformation.
Purpose motivates people through meaning, not fear, thus providing a more effective basis for driving successful transformation. It clarifies the desired long-term outcome, allowing people to understand the immediate need for change rather than feeling alienated by change that is "imposed" upon them.
4. Purpose Taps a Universal Need.
Purpose appeals to something fundamental in human nature. Whatever their motives — either a desire to belong or altruism — most people feel a need to contribute something to a community, to feel they are part of society. Purpose recognizes differences and diversity while uniting people through a desire to contribute to something bigger than benchmarking or performance metrics.
5. Purpose builds bridges.
Purpose makes it easier for companies to create alliances. Whether the goal is cross-industry collaboration or an industry movement, companies can compare their potential for collaboration with a particular group or another business by looking for common ground in their purposes. Internally, too, purpose helps individuals and teams to work across silos in order to pursue a single, compelling aim.