Purpose – Why?

October 13th - Edition #5

The concept of Purpose and its inclusion in the strategy and culture of companies has been gaining a lot of attention in the last three years and was exponentially enhanced with the 2018 Larry Fink's letter "Sense of Purpose". This was then reinforced by this year’s letter "Purpose vs Profit".

“Positioning” Purpose: Vision is about where we are heading, Mission is about what we do, Purpose is about why we do it.

It is common these days to come across articles around key messages like

  • "Purpose driven companies deliberately make a difference in their communities and maybe even the world" or
  • "A number of studies have shown that purpose driven companies perform well in the market". 

This purpose trend has, in my mind, its immediate roots on

  • the concerns around sustainability, where values and vision play a critical role in the way companies need to operate;
  • the fact that Gen Z and Millennials represent 64% (32% each) of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019;
  • the growing research concluding that the best talent coming from those generations will gravitate to purpose driven companies.

As anything which implies strategic and cultural changes, making the move to a purpose driven company is hard work. An article from HBR describes the key steps moving forward:

  1. Envision an inspired workforce
  2. Discover the purpose.
  3. Recognize the need for authenticity.
  4. Turn the authentic message into a constant message.
  5. Stimulate individual learning.
  6. Turn midlevel managers into purpose-driven leaders.
  7. Connect the people to the purpose.
  8. Unleash the positive energizers.

More on Purpose next week.

Have a great and impactful week. 

Nuno Moreira da Cruz
Center for Responsible Business and Leadership at Católica-Lisbon School of Business & Economics
Executive Director
Affiliate Professor