Also in the latest Gallup Management Journal is an interview with Roy Spence called Your Company’s Purpose Matters Now. Its point is that “in this rough economic climate, it’s more critical than ever that you and your customers know why your company is in business.”
Here are a few excerpts:
Purpose is not just a crucial differentiator; it’s the strategic structure that pulls companies through the worst of times. Companies should determine their purpose — “a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world,” Spence says — then craft their leadership, management, operations, strategy, and tactics to further that purpose. What’s more, a purpose-based approach simplifies many difficult decisions and makes an uncertain future easier to navigate. …
While everyone in corporate America is cutting costs and trying to stimulate new revenues, organizations that have a clear purpose won’t be looking for silver bullets or grasping at straws or just cutting cost with no clear focus. Instead, they will have more clarity in their cuts and more certainty on how to stimulate revenues. For example, though Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines are going through this economic Armageddon like everyone else, they know that all cuts in cost must translate into lower prices so people can live better or into lower airfares so more people can go and see and do things. These are not just cuts for their own sake.
The article has a helpful illustration from Southwest Airlines of the centrality of purpose to creating real value for people.