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How to Build a Purpose-Driven Organization

By: Elaine Fogel


How to Build a Purpose Driven Organization

As we learned in How to Inspire Brand Loyalty with Purpose“People want to buy from companies that stand for a purpose with which they personally identify and reflect their values and beliefs.”

A recent research paper by Quartz Insights and WE entitled, Leading with Purpose in an Age Defined by It, gives us additional statistics and reasons to embrace purpose as part of every organization’s business DNA.

“The public is increasingly looking to the private sector—brands, companies, and organizations – to respond to issues like inequality, climate change, and immigration reform. These issues are simply too big, and their ramifications too massive, for businesses to dismiss.”

  • Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents believe purpose will become more important over the coming year and that business strategy and purpose strategy will be more connected than ever before.
  • 63% believe brands currently play a positive role in society and 64% believe brands, rather than governments, are primarily responsible for driving social change.
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents think purpose leadership will become as important as an organization’s financial performance.
  • 65% think current social and political trends are pushing [business] leaders to define their purpose and demanding organizations take a stand.
  • 62% of respondents believe impactful purpose leaders embolden others to drive positive change.
  • When respondents were asked to name the most critical issues purpose leadership should be prepared to address in 2019, the top three were the environment, equality, and politics.

“While brands have traditionally been cautious about expressing a political point of view, the tides of social change are shifting more rapidly than traditional legislators are willing or able to respond to. In turn, brands and purpose leaders are seizing upon a growing opportunity to lead the charge for unaddressed issues.”

Who decides on a brand’s purpose?

Everyone! It can start at the top working down, or at the bottom working up. Employees, management, C-suite leadership, customers, and local communities can shape a brand’s purpose. Brand purpose is a democratic decision.

54% of respondents agree that purpose can start anywhere; it does not need to trickle down from the top of an organization.

What attributes do you need for purpose leadership?

Empower other people to drive positive change

Empowering others is the key to effecting purpose: 62% of respondents believe impactful purpose leaders embolden others to drive positive change.

By empowering others, a purpose is magnified and multiplied beyond a few key leaders.

Personal commitment and conviction despite adversity

Nearly half of respondents (46%) prioritize personal commitment and conviction in a leader despite adversity.

Without authentic personal commitment from a leader, a purpose falls flat.

Actively communicate about beliefs

Brands cannot be authentic without listening to and understanding the needs of their people and communities.

Effective leadership involves consensus-building between stakeholders not single-mindedly pursuing one course of action.

Brave in articulating purpose

Bravery must go beyond articulation: A purpose needs swift action.

77% of all respondents agree that brands have a moral obligation to engage with societal issues when it impacts their business.

Brave action is a necessary part of how brands live their purpose.

How Your Brand Can Build and Execute a Purpose Strategy

Building a purpose-driven organization is no longer an option. It will continue to grow as a brand necessity.

It will take time to establish, but once developed, your brand purpose will give you and your stakeholders a mission with which to engage, create change, and feel good about doing it.

Check out my presentation: 
Becoming a Purpose-Driven Organization: How to market and lead with purpose for winning results

Published: June 28, 2019

Source: Elaine Fogel

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