So many organizations are talking about purpose now, it feels like we’ve leapfrogged past the phase where we explore the concept meaningfully, and purpose has gone straight to buzzword status. One quick search and you’re swimming in pro-purpose thought leadership and data.
On one hand, we think this is wonderful. Companies should examine their purpose beyond the drive for profits. The current pandemic has revealed a lot about us as a society. The existential threat of COVID-19 has made us more attuned to how our business decisions impact the larger world. People don’t just want to buy a product or work with a vendor out of a sense of price or value—they are also swayed how a company behaves.
Our survey of 625 B2B technology professionals revealed that 90% were impacted by a vendor’s vision, mission or purpose. Issues such as racial equality, social justice, and environmental sustainability practices were close to that number, but it was purpose that was the key driver.
But there’s a hidden danger to all this talk about purpose, and that’s if all this talk remains just talk. Companies can’t just pay lip service to a sense of purpose and consider the task complete. They have to exemplify it in their behavior, from the top of the organization right down to the front lines. It has to be authentic and integrated into the culture. Companies have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Because if we don’t live our purpose, customers, employees and other stakeholders will see right through it. And if too many companies go through the motions of “blah blah purpose”, then this powerful force becomes a middling buzzword. And that would be awful.
Buzzwords die. They become overused. Remember “synergy”? Or “fail forward”? At Rob Roy, we don't want to see the concept of corporate purpose become a superficial fad. There’s too much at stake.
As our world continues the transformation that began in 2020, the companies that succeed will be those able to discover, articulate and demonstrate a clear and authentic purpose. We’ve helped our clients discover the purpose they already exemplify, and then leverage to tell their story. This is our passion.