Eight years ago, Malnight, Buche, and Dhanaraj launched a study of high growth in companies, looking at three strategies known to drive it: creating new markets, serving broader stakeholder needs, and rewriting the rules of the game. To their surprise, they discovered a fourth driver they hadn’t considered at all: purpose.
Companies have long been building purpose into what they do, but usually it’s seen as an add-on as a way to, say, give back to the community. The high-growth companies in the study, in contrast, had made purpose central to their strategies, using it to redefine playing fields and reshape value propositions. The purpose of Mars Petcare, for instance a better world for pets guided its expansion from pet food into the larger ecosystem of pet health. The purpose of Securitas contributing to a safer society led the firm to redesign its offering to include not just physical guards but electronic services and predictive solutions.
This article explains how executives can develop and implement a purpose at their organizations. It also describes the benefits they’re quite likely to see once they do: a more unified organization, more-motivated stakeholders, broader impact, and more profitable growth.
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