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Culture Of Purpose – On Purpose


bigger than you

Seems that creating a company that focuses on meaning and purpose is hitting the charts with a bullet.

This week at SHRM I listened to Blake Mycoskie talk about his journey to create TOMS Shoes and how his company has given away 10 MILLION pairs of shoes since the company’s founding.  He is now using the same strategy he applied to shoes to eye glasses – bringing vision to those that can’t get it.

His company is good by doing good.  His employees WANT to work at TOMS – they are connected to the mission emotionally and personally.  People want to buy TOMS Shoes BECAUSE they can do good too. (Pardon the grammar.)  It’s just good business.

Having a mission and purpose outside traditional financial statements seems to be new trend.  And the annual Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture survey would seem to back up his idea.

Purpose Is Now A Business Criteria

In the future, companies with a purpose other than pure profit could have an edge over their competition according to the Deloitte survey.  Although the survey is comprised of largely self reported information – it does provide some tid bits that today’s (and future) HR execs should take to heart.


  • Respondents who said their organization had a strong sense of purpose were not only more likely to say their company had performed well financially over the last year (90 percent) and historically (91 percent) but also to say their company had a distinct brand that stood out among competitors (91 percent), strong customer satisfaction (94 percent) and strong employee satisfaction (79 percent).
  • A large majority (85 percent) of executives were more likely to agree that their company’s sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work there, compared with 61 percent of employees who agreed that a strong sense of purpose was one of the reasons they selected their employer.

Purpose drives customer satisfaction, employee commitment, retention, brand value and overall financial success.

But as usual… it’s not all roses…

  • While executives reported that their company had a strong sense of purpose and they could easily explain it far fewer employees agreed.  Once again, mahogany row isn’t seeing the real organization.
  • In addition, employees and executives ranked employee development programs among the top  efforts that were helpful in building a purpose-driven culture, but less than half of employees said those kinds of programs were integrated into their company’s business strategy – but over 70% of executives thought they were.  Again  a huge disconnect between desired state and actual.

What this means is that executives need to really open their eyes and ears and find out the truth outside their office doors.  Take time to listen and hear your employees.  What you think is happening – is probably not the experience your employees are having.

Purpose = Real

The problem here is that you can’t fake purpose.

Purpose has to happen on purpose.

After reading this survey, I’m a bit concerned that some companies will see these kinds of studies and simply add a few lines to their mission statement or write a check to a charity hoping to check the box off that says “Create Purpose Make More Money.”

And they will miss the point.

But their employees won’t.

I believe employees will see the subterfuge and react with their feet.  The good employees, who would have connected emotionally to the purpose of the company, will walk.

The take away – As an employer you can create strong, sustainable, emotional relationships with your employees (and them with you) if you find your purpose, work your purpose and incorporate your purpose into your business strategy.

But do it on purpose.


One Response to “Culture Of Purpose – On Purpose”

  1. Symbolist says:

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