Forget Higher Purpose!


You can forget your Higher Purpose if you are not ready to walk the talk. Just think about it… a very touching paradigm shift has started to transpire in recent years: organizations have finally started to embrace the concept of a higher purpose. Purpose beats mission, vision and values. The latter ones have the organization as their focus and are all about the organization and its inhabitants: mission (what business are we in?), vision (where do we see ourselves in a few years’ time?) and values (what do we stand for?). Purpose, however, looks at the organization from the outside to consider the difference it makes in people’s lives. Purpose adds an additional dimension to an organization: it personalizes products and services, and instead of being a purely transactional system it becomes a relationship.

This paradigm shift can lead to more engaged and passionate employees and higher profits, but employees are all too often cynical about the lofty concept of a higher purpose, and for good reason. Just to name a few recent incidents: Australia’s 7-Eleven and Domino’s Pizza have been underpaying staff while executives have been lining their own pockets; Australia’s biggest banks were cheating customers and viewing their dealings with them as purely transactional.

These above examples clearly illustrate why it’s so hard for organizations to walk the talk, and why it would sound hypocritical even to begin a discussion about creating a higher purpose while the existing transactional culture persists. So the challenge before launching a purpose campaign is to fairness-check senior-executive pay, employee wages and working conditions. Otherwise your efforts might just be met with collective eye-rolling.

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mickey feher