Does Your Core Purpose Inspire?

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins studied the attributes of top performing companies that had both great cultures and delivered consistently strong financial performance for shareholders.

He identified that great companies did 3 things consistently:

  • They had the RIGHT people on the bus
  • The RIGHT people were doing the RIGHT things
  • The RIGHT people would do the RIGHT things RIGHT

In order to have the RIGHT people on the bus – it is vital that a company have clarity in their Core Purpose or why they exist and in their Core Values, that handful of cultural rules that they will not compromise on.

An organization’s Core Purpose is their reason for being and also answers the question “What difference are we making in the world?” It goes deeper than just profit and job creation.

Here are three examples of Core Purpose that you will most likely recognize:

  • Starbuck’s Core Purpose is to provide an “Escape” from one’s busy day with a personalized beverage
  • Disney’s Core Purpose is creating “Happiness” for families and friends
  • Medtronic’s Core Purpose is to “Restore” the health of people who can benefit from their products

Each of these companies is highly profitable and employs thousands of workers but also has a deeper reason for being and is making a difference in the world according to what is important to them.

Jim Collins, in his research and book Good to Great, discovered important information about Core Purpose from the “Great” Companies.

Here are five important attributes of Core Purpose, gleaned from the research:

  • Higher purpose beyond profit
  • Does not change, but inspires change
  • Works around obstacles
  • Inspires team and volunteerism
  • The difference you make in the world

 So how can you discover your organizations real Core Purpose?

Core Purpose often has its origin with the Founder. If your Founder is still in the business, or you have access to them, simply ask the question: “Why did you start the business, tell me your story?” and then listen carefully. Often you will find the Core Purpose in their story!

Other important questions to ask the leadership team include: Why do we exist? What would happen if we went away?  Why do I devote my creative energies here?

Does your Core Purpose energize you, your leadership team, your employees and prospective employees?


[themecolor]Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC.  We work with successful top executives that have a driving ambition to crush their competition.  We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication, accountability and execution throughout their organization.[/themecolor]

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