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How to Build Purpose-driven High-performance Organizations?

Purpose-driven organizations are those that have a clear sense of their mission beyond just making money. They are driven by a desire to make a positive impact on the world and prioritize their purpose over short-term profits.

Some may view the growing attention to purpose within organizations as merely a branding or employee engagement tactic. Others see it as an inevitable positive response to the current state of the world.

No matter which side of the fence you are, there is growing evidence, that when organizations follow a clearly defined purpose, they have a better chance of financially outperforming their peers in their industry.

Obviously, purpose needs to be more than just a catchy statement on a corporate website. Purpose must be authentic, and it must be operationalized.

In today’s fast-paced world, strategy can no longer be based on accurate predictions of the future. Instead, organizations need to focus on developing capabilities that allow them to adapt rapidly. This requires organizations to have a strong sense of organizational identity and a vision based on a shared purpose.

When done right, purpose energizes an organization and accelerates its performance in three ways:
1. Purpose serves as a compass to guide both short- and long-term actions. Thus, purpose-driven organizations are better internally aligned.
2. Purpose builds trust. Thus purpose-driven organizations enjoy loyalty among their clients, suppliers and other ecosystem partners.
3. Purpose inspires. When employees feel that their work holds purpose, they are more likely to deliver outstanding work.

So, how can companies become purpose-driven, high-performance organizations?
Here are some key steps:

1. Define your purpose
This should be done in an interactive process with the full range of your stakeholders. Note that purpose is not something that is negotiated like a salary or targets. It is not the company that defines purpose for individuals, but individuals who endow their work with a purpose. In purpose, there are no bosses, superiors, orders, or chain of command.
Purpose should express the positive impact and legacy a company aims to leave on this world. It should be ambitious and strive for the seemingly impossible. It should be a meaningful and authentic source of inspiration. All ll employees and other stakeholders must understand it and connect with it.
2. Align your operating model with your purpose
Start with defining the key capabilities and functions that are essential to deliver on your purpose. Translate the key functions into meaningful activities and assign responsibilities for these activities to your organizational units.
3. Pro-actively identify and resolve bottlenecks
When people buy in into a shared vision, they will do their best to achieve the desired outcomes. But if they hit the walls of ill-designed organizations, they lose energy and leave the organization – or worse stay as dead wood. So identifying broken links or ambiguities or overloaded resources in the organization is key to becoming a high-performance organization
4. Foster a high-performance culture
To achieve exceptional results, you need a culture that encourages innovation, collaboration, and continuous improvement. This requires a focus on employee engagement, development, and empowerment.
5. Measure and communicate your impact
Finally, to be a purpose-driven, high-performance organization, you need to measure and communicate your impact. This includes not just financial metrics, but also social and environmental impact.

In conclusion, purpose-driven, high-performance organizations are those that prioritize their mission while also delivering exceptional results.
Let me know if you would like to discuss this. 

Recommended reading:
– Hit Refresh, The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella
– Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies by Ranjay Gulati
– The Revival of Purpose Driven Companies – China Europe International Business School