As Kevin Randall says in our forthcoming whitepaper, “A Higher Purpose Means Higher Profit,” “[a] company’s leadership should work in an inclusive way across the organization to craft a purpose statement that is credible, authentic and compelling for COR stakeholders.” While many businesses have mission or vision statements, it’s in any company’s interest to have a strong purpose statement that communicates their soul to their customers, organization, and the rest of the world. Today, we’ll discuss what makes a great purpose statement and how to create one for your business.
It’s easy to confuse mission statements and purpose statements, but the two are quite different. While a mission statement should be a broad statement of how your business seeks to impact its community, the purpose statement should focus primarily on the short message that guides your company in how it formulates its business practices and procedures.
Take, for example, Procter & Gamble’s purpose:
“We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come. As a result, consumers will reward us with leadership sales, profit and value creation, allowing our people, our shareholders and the communities in which we live and work to prosper.”
This statement provides a simple, straightforward articulation of Procter & Gamble’s reason for being: it explains how the company endeavors to impact the world, and how both the company as a whole and the individual employee are essential to this provess. Note that the statement shows how their everyday activities are shaped by the will to provide products of “superior quality” that “improve the lives of the world’s consumers.” This helps Procter & Gamble’s employees, stakeholders and communities to prosper.
Procter & Gamble’s example combines the three elements needed for a great purpose statement: concision, attainability, and focus. Let’s look more deeply into each:
A great purpose statement won’t come to you quickly. It’s a difficult task to quantify exactly what purpose drives your business–and even more difficult to explain this purpose in a simple, understandable statement. But it’s so worth it!
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