The 2020s will see companies thriving or dying based on how well they operationalize and communicate their purpose. To be clear, a platitude printed on a coffee mug does not make a business purpose-driven. Truly operationalized, genuine purpose is what’s really going to separate winners from losers in the coming decade. Getting your company on the right side of that line starts with having honest conversations about purpose.
When I am called in to support an organization in becoming purpose driven, the first thing I do is separate and interview the top execs. It’s a bit of an ambush, but it always reveals many valuable insights on where they are aligned, where they are split and where they have collective blind spots. Here are some of the questions I use:
Step one for operationalizing purpose is getting your company’s executive leadership aligned on the responses to the questions above. It can be challenging and even uncomfortable to push through the conversations needed to gain alignment, but it’s worth it. Attempting to operationalize a company’s purpose without strong executive alignment is going to do more harm than good and will always land you right back on square one eventually.
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