19 Sep Purpose must come before profit… and before anything else too
Building a business or working in a job is meaningless unless it is done with purpose, knowing that making money is not the purpose, it is a result. Money is the fuel for the engine, not the reason for the journey. But what does it mean to operate with purpose, and how does a business identify whether it really knows what its purpose is?
Purpose is the unifying force that cascades throughout the enterprise, from culture and strategy, through to brand and action. It responds to our innate desire to make a positive impact on the world we inhabit – regardless of whether the enterprise is non-profit, social, or a conventional business.
For example, Sam Walton didn’t create Walmart to become a billionaire. His purpose was to create a place where ‘ordinary folk had the chance to buy the same things as rich people.’ Think of Microsoft’s 1980 purpose, bearing in mind that it is a software company: ‘to have a computer on every desk and in every home,’ with this purpose evolving in 2015 to be ‘to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.’ Not a word about software…