Changing the planet for the better, is what purpose is all about. That’s why you should try to express the purpose of your organization in terms of its desired impact on society. You’d be surprised how many people and partners want to be part of your positive planetary change project.
It is very fashionable today to speak about purpose in business. Now that the most important Belgian industrial federation VBO-FEB has announced that it is focusing on purpose, a lot of strategy advisors and board members are rushing into this new trend. Purpose is the new CSR. But purpose is not strategy. It is not the new ‘mission, vision, value’ exercise. Purpose should express what positive impact your organization – as a whole – wants to have on the planet, and on society. As a whole, from within its DNA. Not as an excuse to show off and feel good.
True, it is not easy to match purpose with tomorrow’s P&L. And yes, transforming towards a purpose-centric organisation might feel like a nightmare to some of the classic managers. If your purpose exercise feels like a walk in the park, chances are high that the exercise is far from finished. That’s why we advice to add a stubborn challenger to the purpose definition team. Someone who knows little about the ins and outs of your organisation, and has no short-term target to reach. This way, your exercise maintains an external viewpoint and has a better chance to lead towards a clear expression of its desired impact on society.