Purpose (2006) reveals just how important values are for strong leadership in the 21st century. These blinks explain the four different forms of purpose that will allow you and your business to thrive, from their ethical underpinnings to their successful use by today’s most influential leaders.
Why do some succeed in business, while others don’t? Sure, it has a lot to do with economic brilliance and charisma, but that’s not the whole story. A company’s purpose, the set of moral ideas that guide it, is crucial for lasting success.
Purpose is the moral backbone that we rely on to make decisions, whether it’s in everyday life or when the stakes are much higher. With purpose, we can discern between choices that are right and worthwhile, and those that are easy or technically correct.
Let’s put this into real terms. Do you want to serve your customer, or maximize your returns? This is a question Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton could answer without a second thought.
Driven by altruism and compassion, Walton was dedicated to serving his customers. His sense of purpose reverberated throughout the whole company. From senior managers to store staffers, everyone at Wal-Mart was ready to make customer service a top priority. This gave Wal-Mart an edge over its competitors, which it outperforms time and time again.
The reality is, without purpose, you’ll only make decisions with the short term in mind – strategy simply isn’t enough. Take Enron, a corporation whose collapse was one of America’s biggest corporate bankruptcies.
They had strategies, but lacked purpose. All they were interested in was making money, and were prepared to do anything to do so. This led to poor decision making, which involved dangerous strategies and concealing losses. Unsurprisingly, Enron’s actions caught up with them in the end, a testament to how dangerous a strategy without purpose can be.