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If your purpose is distracting, you’re doing it wrong

Leaders love the positive aura that a purpose can create around a brand. Yet many may still view purpose as something that is ancillary to the organization, rather than residing at the core. In these organizations, it can get relegated to the same category as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. It’s considered a nice thing to have, but also viewed as a potential distraction.

There has been some blowback around purpose. It was bound to happen. Everyone got excited about the promise of it. That fired up the bandwagon. As a result, we saw organizations try to shoe-horn a purpose into their message. And it wasn’t just obscure brands. In fact, I think we saw the problem begin when Pepsi tried to exploit purpose in their infamous commercial.

All of this may be causing hesitation. While it is good to evaluate the authenticity of your purpose, it’s a strategic blunder if you let it cause you hesitate and question the value of embracing a purpose.

If you worry that your purpose could be a potential distraction, then it’s time to reevaluate. Your purpose should be core to everything that you say and do. If it’s not, then you really don’t have a purpose. It’s more likely that you have a nice statement with a few platitudes that attempts to make it sound like your organization is not a soulless machine.

If that’s not enough reason to reevaluate how you view your purpose, then consider what you may be missing.

  • A purpose creates focus, guiding everything the organization says and does. If there is a question about what path to take or what to emphasize, you should be able to look back to your purpose to find the guidance.
  • A purpose allows those you hope to serve see how they can become part of the difference you’re making in the world. That makes you irresistible. When that becomes part of your story, it amplifies everything you say and do.

From recruiting and retention to customer acquisition and loyalty, a genuine purpose has the potential to transform an organization. It can transform your success. Does that sound like something that you’d call a distraction?

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on May 8, 2019.

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Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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