Special report on mission and purpose - Fast Company Nov 2014

“FIND YOUR MISSION” is the cover of the most recent issue of Fast Company. Its feature article covers the importance of mission, values, and purpose. A great issue to get your hands on.

Companies featured inside include:

  • Chipotle
  • PepsiCo
  • Google
  • Apple
  • Eileen Fisher
  • AgLocal

And some great quotes:

In an era of rapid change, companies that operate with a sense of purpose have a competitive edge.

Wong runs Google’s internal ad agency by aligning what he calls the four Ps: purpose, people, products, and process, in that order. Without purpose, the others would be ungrounded.

Ells (Chipotle CEO) and Cook (Apple CEO) represents a rising breed of business leaders who are animated not just by money but by the pursuit of a larger societal purpose.

Nooyi (PepsiCo CEO) operates PepsiCo under a mission statement she calls “Performance with Purpose.”

The author defines what he calls Generation Flux. This is such a great passage:

This refers to the group of people best positioned to thrive in today’s era of high-velocity change. Fluxes are defined not by their chronological age but by their willingness and ability to adapt. These are the people who are defining where business and culture are moving. And purpose is at the heart of their actions.

And some great definitions of purpose. This one is from Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi, a management professor at Harvard Business School.

Purpose is at the essence of why firms exist. There is nothing mushy about it - it is pure strategy. Purpose is very idealistic, but at the same time very practical.

Here’s a quote I love from the same professor:

Consultants argue that strategy comes from big data, but it really comes from the heart.

And the benefits of purpose:

Companies such as Apple and Chipotle- and Google and PepsiCo, and even fashion brands like Eileen Fisher - rely on mission to unlock product differentiation, talent acquisition and retention, and even investor loyalty.

Here’s Chief creative officer from Google’s internal ad agency on the power of purpose:

If you choose the right purpose, certain people will be attracted. They will be motivated and unified. They require less management oversight. Those people will then conceive and execute products, products that fit the purpose. The process fills in the open spaces. But strong purpose ties it together. You have to excavate the purpose first.

The manager era is gone. Your staff can leave. They have the option to go. That’s why purpose is so important. It’s the best way to keep talent.

What a great read.