Getting real with Purpose 

Apr 16, 2024

Getting real with Purpose – 9 Questions to start the conversation


Businesses that operate from a foundation of purpose attract more customers and more talent than their competition. The 2020s will see companies thriving or dying based on how well they operationalize and communicate purpose. To be clear, a platitude printed on 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:

  • If you had to describe to a child why this company’s work matters, what would you say?
  • What core human need(s) do you believe your company meets for its customers?
  • What core human need(s) do you believe your customers are able to meet for others because of the work that your company does?
  • How is the world made better because of the work that your company does?
  • Describe one or more scenarios that would render that work moot.
  • What impact would you say your company has had upon the world over the last 12 months?
  • Is your company’s mission one that can be accomplished once and for all? What would you do if you succeeded?
  • In a world where individuals now have every tool imaginable to start their own companies and be self-sustaining, why should they choose to spend their life energy working here? What is fulfilling about working here?
  • What things are you doing that aren’t serving your purpose?

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.

Where is your company missing the mark on being purpose-driven?
What other questions would you add?

Colt Briner  « Architect of Influence


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Scrappy’s proven tools and techniques create industry darlings that are loved by their customers, employees and shareholders. At Scrappy AF we specialize in high-impact branding and market-disrupting strategies to take companies from “never heard of ‘em” to market dominance. Scrappy is a collective of seriously resourceful, radically creative, tactical badasses under the leadership of Colt Briner, unicorn company CMO and Architect of Influence.