It feeds the soul and replenishes our energy. Purpose lived through actions anchors us, connects us, motivates us, and ultimately defines us. Life fueled by the search for our own personal why is the very definition of the human spirit.
Today, we all seem to be searching more than ever for human connections that support our life’s journey. The illusory promises offered by technology, in a strange way, have done just the opposite. Tweets aren’t conversation, and Instagram hearts don’t define relationships.
The vacuum created by these promises has been intensified by the speed of change, which has spun us into thousands of disconnected pieces and parts, often leaving us wondering where we belong and if anything we do really matters.
While the impact of purpose and the importance of relationships can’t be directly accounted for in a spreadsheet or an accountant’s ROI calculation, both purpose and relationships influence, in so many ways, everything that ultimately defines the traditional bottom-line measurements of success.
A confluence of forces is fueling the awakening of leaders to the potential of organizations to reach new levels of prosperity by becoming places where employees are more engaged, excited and productive because they feel that what they do has an impact beyond the moment, the year, or even their lifetimes. They matter.
This truth is being reinforced with increasing frequency by researchers, authors and other thought leaders—all proclaiming the growing influence of corporate purpose and values alignment on decisions about whom we choose to work for, purchase from, or contribute to.
Can organizations matter more because they become places where people live their values, where ideas are nurtured, grow and thrive? Can they become environments where people feel excited and engaged in being a part of producing innovations that make their communities and the world, better? Can they become a force for change?
How can we correct a trajectory that by our own hands has produced real threats to the quality of our lives and the legacy we leave future generations? And, can this type of company create positive energy that radiates beyond its walls to attract and retain the trust and loyalty of customers, donors or investors?
Absolutely. It has been done by some. Therefore, it can be done by many.
In my quest for answers to these questions about whether or not a company born of profit-first DNA could in fact change its culture, my research spawned new insights about what it takes to transform organizations into brands that matter to customers, employees, and the world. I translated these insights into my book, Beyond Sizzle: The Next Evolution of Branding.
Today, the world is searching for companies that embrace the importance of purpose and corporate responsibility demonstrated in both words and actions. Interface, Inc., the corporation with which I conducted a research project that became the catalyst for my book, became an example of this type of company as it transformed from a self-declared “plunderer of the earth” into an exemplar of sustainable manufacturing.
In the words of Interface founder Ray Anderson,
This is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, from a pure business perspective.