A Discussion about Purpose-Driven Work
If we look back to our parents’ and grandparents’ generation of organizations, winning was often defined quite simply – as producing and selling high while keeping costs low. Profits alone were typically the name of the game to companies and a paycheck was often all that mattered to employees.
But times have changed. These days, leaders understand deeply that rooting their organization to a deeper purpose – and ensuring that their employees and even customers are aligned – is critical.
More and more we are seeing that a shared and tangible purpose is the cornerstone to any growing organization; so, I wanted to learn from other organizations and industries how purpose is showing up day-to-day. I set out to learn how they are actively prioritizing purpose, and hear the benefits they are currently seeing from purpose-driven work. I opened the discussion up to my LinkedIn community and was pleased to hear from individuals and leaders from across healthcare, research, non-profit, creative industries, and more – I hope you enjoy their input as much as I did!
🏆 How does your own organization prioritize purpose?
➕ What do you think is a benefit of purpose-driven work?
A: Speak prioritizes purpose by pointing us back to our core values. We focus on working with heart, serving our clients, treating others well, and doing good inside and outside of the office. A huge benefit to prioritizing purpose is finding a common goal for our team to surround ourselves with. By doing this, we are consistently pushing each other to create better strategies, designs, and developments in order to serve others in the best way we can.
A team that knows its core values by heart lives them out each and every day — and it’s something we should all strive for!
A: I founded my company with 2 principles in mind: to help as many charities as possible and to put people to work. The more charities we help, the more money is raised to support them, and the more people it takes to sort and handle the mixed foreign currency. Since then I have also employed people with autism and most recently became a Certified Living Wage Employer. Our work also ensures that foreign currency (Coin in particular) makes it back into circulation and stays out of landfills.
Our work supports charities and fundraising endeavors throughout North America, from large multi-national charities to smaller, local initiatives. Everything about our work is to help others. Everything about my business is to help my team help others.
Coin’s business is rooted in such a selfless purpose – from its employees to the non-profits it serves, the company revolves around helping others.
A: I always believed vision and alignment to vision across levels are paramount to a successful culture, often times that looks like “purpose.”
Beneficially and in a perfect world, senior and associate levels see the growth they desire when purpose-driven work is the medium they are creating. An “everybody eats” mentality thrives when priorities are aligned and communicated effectively.
Without proper communication, priorities can’t be aligned. Connor makes a great point.
A: At Allen Institute, our purpose above all is to make progress on the biggest health issues of our time by investigating big questions and then making the data open. Making open science our core purpose means that everything we do feeds into openness – from our data to our educational lesson plans.
Goal-driven purpose, like what Madeline describes here, keeps the overall vision in sight and helps align the to-do lists and week-to-week schedule.
A: We’re in the elder care business, Manchester Care Homes and Cambridge Caregivers. Our purpose is dual: Care for the communities we serve and respect the staff that works so hard in each community.
What do you think is a benefit of purpose-driven work? Without a purpose/goal, we will all roam aimlessly.
When employees feel respected, they thrive in their careers. When customers feel respected, they keep coming back. This is beautiful, Brian.
So thankful for each of these leaders who took time out of their day to share what purpose means to them. As you can see, the answers I received were as unique as the individuals and the organizations they represented, which proves that what works for one company, may not work for another. That being said, each person had a purpose in mind specific to their organization and experience, and it continues to benefit them in all they are accomplishing.
I loved what Brian Levy said: “Without a purpose/goal, we will all roam aimlessly.” Let this be a reminder today. No matter what organization you work for, the hobby you pursue, or the decisions you make today, let it be done with purpose. When you lead with a clear purpose, it will direct not only your steps but those who follow. Together, we can create and sustain cultures of enduring greatness!
P.S. If you haven’t yet heard of The Fellowship, it’s an event I founded back in 2018 to support culture builders in their effort to build and sustain cultures of enduring greatness. If you found this article interesting and want to grow in purpose as a leader of your organization, I invite you to learn more here and claim your spot today!