So what is the Purpose

An extraordinary business starts with extraordinary people. 
Extraordinary people start with 
purpose.
– Jesper Lowgren

There are many labels that informs a business’ direction; vision, mission, values and principles.  However, have you ever really thought about your business’ purpose?

A vision statement says what the business wishes to be like in some years’ time. It’s usually drawn up by senior management, in an effort to take the thinking beyond day-to-day activity in a clear, memorable way. There’s also the mission, which describes what industry the business is in (and what it isn’t) both now and projecting into the future. Its aim is to provide focus for management and staff.  Values describe the desired culture, a behavioural compass.  If values provide the compass, principles give employees a set of directions.

So how does purpose differ from all the above, which emphasise how the business should view and conduct itself. Looking at some purpose statements of businesses operating in South Africa;

- Dimension Data: We accelerate the ambitions of our clients, our people, our shareholders, and society.
- Liberty Group: To make a difference in people's lives by helping them to orchestrate their financial freedom. This is our passion.
- Mr Price: To add value to our customers’ lives and worth to our partners’ lives, while caring for the communities and environments in which we operate

Noticed how these purpose statements have, as opposed to vision, mission etc, an outward focus?   This takes outward focus to a whole new level, not just emphasising the importance of serving customers or understanding their needs but also putting managers and employees in customers’ shoes.  It says, “This is what we’re doing for someone else.” And it’s motivational, because it connects with the heart as well as the head.

So how does the world look like from your customers’ reality? What does it feel like to be in their shoes? How is your business investing heart into someone else?
How is your purpose paving the pathway to significance?