Ground breaking study from Price Waterhouse Coopers points out opportunities for improvement and alignment
Survey of 1500+ employees and 500+ executives across 39 industries
79% of Executives feel Purpose is central to the success of their business.
34% make decisions based with Purpose as a Guidepost.
82% of employees believe the value of Purpose is in finding meaning in their day to day work.
72% of Executives feel Purpose is valuable in managing Corporate reputation and driving innovation.
Millenials are 5.3x and non-millenials are 2.3x more likely to stay when they have a strong connection to their employers Purpose. But, only 27% of Executives help employees connect their own Purpose to the Purpose of the organization.
Purpose FAQ: Does an individual's Purpose need to be the same as the organization's Purpose? Biology helps us answer this.
One of the most frequent questions I get as I talk with CEOs, Senior Leaders and organizations is, "does an individual's Purpose need to be the same as the organization's Purpose?" I often surprise people with the simplicity and emphaticness of my response.
NO! BUT alignment matters!
In fact in most cases, when talking about anyone other than the CEO or other Senior Leaders, the individual’s Purpose typically isn't the same as the organization’s!
Huh? I thought shared Purpose was critical?
Alignment behind a shared Purpose is crucial. BUT that doesn't mean an individual's Purpose is or needs to be the Organization's Purpose or that the Organization's Purpose needs to be the individual’s purpose. However, the two do need to intersect and align in order for things to work best.
BIOLOGY Gives Us Insight
Our bodies (think of this as the organization) are made up of literally billions of cells (think of these as individuals) and many different organs and systems (think of these as Departments and Divisions). Each cell is an entity unto itself with a specific function to perform. Each organ is an entity unto itself with specific functions to perform. Each system has specific functions to perform that contribute to the whole. The aggregate function of all those cells, organs and systems, aligned behind a shared Purpose, creates a well-functioning body that leads to health and well-being. But the Purpose of each individual cell or group of cells varies dramatically. In very simplified terms, the liver’s Purpose is to filter. The heart’s Purpose is to pump blood and oxygen. The lung’s Purpose is to bring oxygen in to the blood. The cells (individuals) and organs (departments) don't have the same Purpose. But they do align behind a unifying force/Purpose: the health and well-being of the body. So, does the organization's Purpose need to be the same as the individuals’ to create an exemplary outcome? No!
Then What is Important?
1) Individuals agreeing that they share the organization's Purpose, and agreeing to work together towards it.
2) Individuals understanding how they're contributing to the shared Purpose.
3) Individuals seeing how the achievement of that shared Purpose contributes to achievement of their individual Purpose.
The Most Common Scenario
So let's take the most common scenario I see every day. An organization defines a higher calling Purpose like, "to build a better world." The individual’s Purpose is, "to earn as much as I can to insure my family is well off and financially secure." At first those two things may seem at odds. But they don't have to be. As a leader, you should see those things simply as data points for additional questions to determine alignment.
What Kinds of Questions?
1) Is the individual inspired by and willing to share the organization's Purpose when at "work."
2) Will the organization's achievement of Purpose allow the individual to achieve his or her Purpose?
If the answer to both is yes, you've achieved Alignment on the most important questions. Do you share common cause(s) and ability to contribute to them? Then it is on to specifics, which will be determined by more specific needs/questions. For example:
1) Is the organization and job structured so that the compensation allows the individual to achieve his or her Purpose? For example, is the expected compensation greater than or equal to what the individual feels is required to achieve his or her Purpose AND in line with averages in the industry? Does the organization expect that to continue moving forward?
2) Is the contribution the individual can make commensurate with the contribution to the organization in realizing its own Purpose? Is the investment in this individual appropriate for the benefit to the organization?
3) Is the path as to how the organization and individual can each achieve their Purposes well defined?
4) Despite the difference in Purpose, do the organization and individual align behind the behaviors that would lead to achievement of their Purposes? Ie. Values. Do they see a common "way of being" that leads them to believe and feel they can both achieve the company and individual Purposes?
If the answer is yes to those questions, despite the initial concern, there may be enough alignment for real success.
Purpose Matters. Shared Purpose and Alignment are Crucial!
Must an individual and organization have the same Purpose? No. But alignment behind the organization’s Purpose, Values and roadmaps to shared successes is critical.
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." Patanjali
•Domni Fund: Socially Responsible Investing has beaten the S+P 500 for decades.
–since 1990, the social index (MSCI KLD 400) returned an average annual total return of 10.46% compared with the S&P 500’s 9.93%.
•New Amsterdam Partners: Companies with high environmental, social and governance ratings create shareholder value and are less volatile than lower-rated companies. “Found a clear relationship between stock returns and ESG ratings: higher return companies in aggregate had better ESG ratings. a strong negative correlation between ESG ratings and stock volatility, especially when market volatility was higher.
•Fast Company: Starting and surviving in today’s economy is hard, but the companies that figure it out have something in common: the pursuit of purpose, alongside the pursuit of profit. A purpose mobilizes people in a way that pursuing profits alone never will.
•Harvard Business Review: “Growing body of evidence that companies that are the most successful at maximizing shareholder value over time are those that aim towards goals other than maximizing shareholder value.” Justin Fox, Jay Lorsch, HBR, July/August 2012
•Lisa Hagerman, Janneke Ratcliffe: “In fact, there is growing evidence that activities funded with an eye toward both long-term economic impact and profits have outperformed many purely profit-motivated activities in the same space.” Lisa Hagerman, Janneke Ratcliffe
“In conducting a meta-analysis of 49,928 business units across 192 organizations representing 49 different industries in 34 countries, Gallup scientists discovered that margin and mission are not at odds with one another at all.”
“When promise and behavior are in sync and customers are aligned with a brand promise, they give that brand twice as much share of wallet (47%) as customers who aren't aligned with that same brand (23%)”
Vision with Purpose is that powerful? Yes it is.
The voice and stories from this blog originate from the collective wisdom and experiences not just of our team, but with those we were fortunate to learn from.