CEOs and business owners wear a lot of hats. There’s no question. Now we are adding one more: Chief Purpose Officer. Lately, I’ve noticed the profound importance of having a founder or chief executive fully engaged in the process of defining and building purpose.
“Research shows executives who treat purpose as a core driver of strategy and decision-making report greater ability to drive successful innovation and transformational change and deliver consistent revenue growth,” according to The Business Case for Purpose.
From the onset, leaders set the tone for encouraging authentic conversations with staff and customers. These conversations are the cornerstone for identifying the unique values of an organization and bringing purpose into focus. Without the support of executive leadership, the process to develop a unique brand purpose can be inauthentic or easily get stalled.
Once an organization’s purpose is uncovered, the leadership determines the consistency and vibrancy with which it is rolled out and kept top of mind. Employees at all levels need to embrace purpose, but top leaders must hold a genuine passion for the company’s purpose.
When leaders become passionate about purpose, they take ownership of it. They begin to share more personal stories which resonate more deeply with employees and customers. When leadership is uniquely engaged with their people around a single purpose, something incredible happens to the culture.
Additionally, leaders can help establish accountability, which is necessary to keep employees and leadership in step with each other. One of the unique values of purpose is the ability to spur better decision-making.
When everyone in the organization understands the purpose, employees are more clear about how they fit into the company. Or, how their decisions move the business forward. It also becomes easier to hold each other accountable.
Consumers and employees are turning to businesses to take the lead on social, environmental and political issues. So, it’s becoming more important to know your purpose and have an engaged leader who can articulate the organization’s unique position on sensitive issues.
Your purpose should guide your involvement on social impact and be in line with the views of top leaders. When that happens, an organization will be better equipped to connect more authentically and achieve positive impact.
Companies are being pushed to draw a line in sand on who they serve, why they exist and what they believe. Today’s executives are being asked to answer these questions in their new role of Chief Purpose Officer.