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  • Writer's pictureNora Griffiths

4 Questions To Know if You’re Truly Purpose-Driven

What does it mean to be purpose-driven?

Introducing the first of the 4Ps – Purpose. This is the second blog in the series introducing the 4Ps (purpose, passion, profit and people) that are integral to Sidekick’s Entrepreneurial Design™ framework. Our framework helps entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs achieve their organizational goals and maximize their impact (read: be successful). Catch up on the first blog in the series on Entrepreneurial Design™.

A few weeks ago, myself and fellow Sidekick co-founder Bonny van Rest, had the opportunity to host our first Sidekick Studio webinar. One of the questions we received during the webinar that I have been mulling over was:

“When using the 4Ps to assess my business, which P do you start with? Does it even matter?”

The answer – it depends. I know, what a helpful answer, but it’s the truth. It depends on the lens in which you’re applying the Ps. Is it for a problem you’re trying to solve, a new business opportunity you’re trying to realize, or when setting the strategy for the company?

For an immediate problem or opportunity, start with the P that feels closest to the matter at hand. However, for your entire company’s strategy or planning, if there isn’t one that stands out, then as Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle would say “start with why” which in this case is Purpose. As such, Purpose is the P we’ll start with in this 4P blog series with the following blogs exploring the remaining Ps in our recommended order: Purpose, Passion, Profit and People.

What is Purpose?

A purpose should be big and bold. It should feel larger than life, aspirational and potentially daunting, but mostly energizing and inspiring. It is often rooted in your perspective of the world, and helps the organization focus on what is most important. It can evolve over time, however must demonstrate why your company exists and drives absolutely everything you do. It’s an organization’s engine; it’s intrinsic motivation that will enable success. A study by EY and Harvard Business Review showcased that purpose-driven companies grow faster.

Companies with clearly defined purpose have experienced on average growth of 10% annually over past three years and are 50% more likely to successfully expand into a new market.

Every organization’s journey to truly being purpose-driven is different but here are four questions we recommend asking yourself on this journey.

1. Do you have a clearly defined purpose?

You may be familiar with other terms commonly used to convey a purpose like your ‘vision’, your ‘why’, your ‘north star’. Whichever term your organization chooses to adopt, the point still stands. Every organization needs that purpose, vision, why, or north star to guide itself otherwise you’ll get lost along the way. If you have one – fantastic! Is it clearly defined? If you don’t have one – let’s get you one! There are some excellent tools out there to guide an organization in clearly defining its purpose like the Golden Circle, defining for your Core Focus (purpose & niche) with EOS, or Humanity’s Wellbeing Framework. However, you want to get started, the most important piece is to get started and ensure it’s clearly defined in one tight sentence. Defining and operationalizing purpose is one of our favorite things at Sidekick.

2. Does your purpose state what impact you’re looking to make on the world?

Image of a magazine opened featuring people supporting Patagonia's mission to save our planet.
Image sourced from Living Alive

It’s great to have a purpose, but does your purpose compel a “so what?” Why should people care about your purpose? An excellent example is Patagonia. Patagonia epitomizes what it means to be purpose-driven. A couple years back they changed their purpose in response to the environmental crisis to more clearly reflect the positive impact they wanted to make on the world. Patagonia evolved their purpose to be “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet”. They use this purpose to drive everything they do, referring to their purpose-driven operations ‘business unusual’, including everything from supply chain management, to how they decide which countries to operate in, how they source materials, and develop products and support communities around them.

3. Is your purpose understood by all stakeholders?

Next is communicating the purpose in a way that creates aspiration, energy, belief and clarity. It’s one thing for you as the founder or leadership team to understand it, but the magic happens when your employees, your customers, your beneficiaries, or your competitors to name a few all clearly understand why you exist. Doing this is easier said than done but is mission critical. Not sure if your purpose is clearly understood by all? Ask them and listen closely.

4. Does your purpose inform your decision-making?

In short, do you walk the walk and talk the talk? For an organization’s purpose to truly live and breathe, it must do just that throughout every aspect of your organization. This isn’t simply putting it up on a wall in pretty a fun looking font and colour. When you come to a fork in the road on your way to achieving your purpose how does it inform how you make decisions? How does it impact how your leaders lead?

Continue the Journey

Starting with your purpose is only the beginning of your journey and trust that it's a worthwhile one! Your purpose won’t be developed and operationalized overnight, but takes time, intention and iterations, but the most important part is to stick with it and consider what relation it has to the other three Ps. Of which, our next blog in this series will explore our second P - Passion. Follow us on LinkedIn for more on the 4Ps.

(Image description: Image of a magazine opened featuring people supporting Patagonia's mission to save our planet.)


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