Self Help

Deep Purpose - Ranjay Gulati

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 54 min read

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  • The book is dedicated to the author’s wife and late mother, who he describes as inspiring, purpose-driven leaders.

  • The foreword is written by Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, who shares his perspective on the importance of corporate purpose and its connection to long-term business success.

  • Fink recounts his own journey in recognizing the role of purpose, including writing letters to CEOs about taking a long-term view.

  • He argues purpose creates a unifying vision, drives ethical behavior, shapes culture and decision-making, and ultimately sustains financial returns.

  • Fink emphasizes that purpose and profit are not opposing forces, but rather purpose animates the pursuit of profit.

  • He reflects on how BlackRock’s purpose of helping people achieve financial well-being guides their work on issues like retirement, investing, and sustainability.

  • Fink stresses that while articulating purpose is easy, living it through your business is hard. Leaders must make difficult tradeoffs and mobilize people.

  • He believes the book offers valuable insights on defining purpose and putting it into practice as a business leader.

Here is a summary of the key points from the preface:

  • The author was initially skeptical about the concept of purpose, thinking it was just inspiring rhetoric that didn’t really impact business performance.

  • However, after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, his students challenged him to think about how business leaders could contribute more to society beyond just financial returns. This prompted the author to re-examine his views.

  • He recalled his mother’s fashion business, which was driven by a social purpose to connect Western consumers with rural Indian village handicrafts in a mutually enriching way. This suggested businesses could pursue both financial and social goals.

  • Reviewing academic research, the author found suggestive evidence that purpose correlates with better financial performance. Through first-hand observations of companies, he also noticed this link.

  • He undertook an in-depth study of purpose-driven companies and found they treat purpose as an operating system and animating force that informs all decisions. This helps them navigate complex stakeholder demands.

  • Embracing purpose passionately unleashes many benefits like better strategy, engaged employees, and loyal partners. Interviews with executives revealed the secrets of these purposeful companies.

  • The author wants to show how purpose can drive long-term value creation and resist short-termism. Pursuing purpose can create an upward spiral of performance and build companies with soul.

  • Purpose statements have two main features: they delineate an ambitious long-term goal for the company, and give this goal an idealistic, socially-oriented dimension beyond profit.

  • Forrest Mars Sr. wrote an internal memo in 1947 stating the company’s purpose was to promote “mutuality of services and benefits” among stakeholders like consumers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders. This was an early example of a multi-stakeholder approach.

  • In 1983, Mars’ children formalized five principles that still guide the company today, including mutuality of benefit for stakeholders. The principles aim to help Mars build a better world.

  • In recent years under new leadership, Mars has reinvigorated its sense of purpose, making the principles part of the culture and adopting a formal statement that business should create a better world.

  • Mars has taken steps towards fulfilling its purpose, becoming a leader in areas like sustainability, renewable energy, and transparency. But there is still room for improvement in fully living its ideals.

  • The case illustrates how purpose can evolve over time, from Forrest Mars’ initial memo to today’s emphasis on social good in business. When made central, purpose can guide decisions and unite stakeholders.

  • Many companies practice “convenient purpose” - they adopt lofty purpose statements but don’t fully integrate purpose into their business.

  • Mars is an example. It has embraced sustainability initiatives and social programs, but still makes much of its money from unhealthy candy products, which seems at odds with its goal of making the world better.

  • Other varieties of convenient purpose include:

  • Purpose-as-disguise - using purpose language to mask unethical practices (e.g. Theranos)

  • Purpose-on-the-periphery - doing some CSR but not transforming core business

  • Purpose-as-win-win-only - only pursuing purpose when it clearly aligns with profit

  • Most companies fall short of fully integrating purpose, even “leading-edge” firms that aim for win-win solutions. When forced to choose profit or purpose, they usually choose profit.

  • This “convenient purpose” has bred public cynicism about whether businesses can truly reform to tackle societal problems. Companies are partly responsible for this by not fully committing to purpose.

  • Many corporate leaders signed a statement committing to serve stakeholders beyond just shareholders, but there has been little real change in corporate behavior as a result. Companies have made some minor changes like raising wages, but largely to preempt regulation rather than out of a real commitment to purpose.

  • Critics see this as unsurprising - corporate insiders will only make superficial changes but not alter the fundamentally exploitative system they benefit from. Real change requires government regulation.

  • However, regulation alone is not enough. We need companies to also reform themselves driven by an internal sense of purpose beyond just profit.

  • “Deep purpose” companies see purpose not just as a tool for benefits like engagement, but as a profound statement of intent that defines the company’s reason for being. It originates inside leaders as a truth they want to realize.

  • Deep purpose leaders approach business as a vehicle for accomplishing their purpose, radiating it faithfully like prophets or artists. This goes beyond a mere “tool” view of purpose.

  • Combining deep purpose-driven corporate self-reform with targeted regulation can deliver the best social outcomes.

  • Gotham Greens is an urban agriculture company located in Brooklyn that grows produce on rooftop greenhouses using 95% less water and 97% less land than conventional farms. The company turned a profit in its first year and has attracted $130 million in investment.

  • Gotham Greens was founded by leaders strongly aligned around sustainability and urban agriculture. This shared sense of purpose permeates the company’s “DNA” and operations, even though it is not formally articulated.

  • Deep purpose companies like Gotham Greens embrace ambitious, noble goals beyond commercial interests that connect to core moral values. This provides a sense of meaning and organizing logic that shapes strategies, processes, relationships and all facets of the business.

  • Purpose serves as an “anchor” and enduring element inside deep purpose organizations, preceding even strategy. It provides a context for action and decision-making.

  • The notion of purpose as an organizing principle has long precedent, countering pure economic views of firms. Companies can be infused with moral values and meaning, carrying deeper purpose.

  • Deep purpose companies embrace their role as carriers of meaning, allowing purpose to shape their internal field of shared assumptions, rules, and motivations.

  • Deep purpose leaders acknowledge the challenges in fully pursuing a purpose, dedicating themselves to navigating tradeoffs between stakeholders and between commercial and social goals.

  • Inspired by their purpose, these leaders make difficult decisions that balance stakeholder interests, even if stakeholders are unsatisfied in the short-term. The leaders accept discomfort and ambiguity to stay true to the purpose.

  • Josh Silverman at Etsy had to lay off 8% of staff to refocus the company on its core purpose of empowering creative entrepreneurs, despite backlash.

  • Paul Polman at Unilever built a long-term, purpose-driven strategy focused on sustainability, while resisting pressure from activists and shareholders focused on short-term results.

  • Purpose-driven leaders walk a “razor’s edge” in trying to balance competing interests and live up to lofty ideals amid business realities. But this navigation of tensions is what builds strong, differentiated brands and leads to success.

  • Leaders must have the courage to stay committed to purpose and make tough choices, rather than taking an easier path. This requires self-awareness, values alignment, and emotional strength.

  • While difficult, walking the razor’s edge in service of purpose is ultimately what creates meaning and fulfillment for leaders, employees, and stakeholders. It enables the realization of existential intentions.

  • Etsy was founded in 2005 with a social purpose to empower small businesses and craftspeople. Under its first CEO Rob Kalin, it positioned itself as more humane and purpose-driven than giants like Amazon.

  • Etsy grew rapidly but struggled to make a profit. Under second CEO Chad Dickerson, it became a certified B Corp in 2012, formally committing to stakeholders beyond just shareholders.

  • Etsy went public in 2015 but investors quickly lost patience with its lack of profits. Dickerson was ousted in 2017 and replaced by Josh Silverman.

  • Silverman laid off employees and shut down projects, prompting backlash that he was gutting Etsy’s values. But he argued tough decisions were needed to refocus Etsy on better serving all stakeholders.

  • In particular, Silverman felt Etsy hadn’t delivered well for its core customers - the sellers. He sought to attract more buyers to grow revenues for sellers and make Etsy more profitable.

  • Silverman also critiqued Etsy’s past social impact as minimal beyond treating employees well. He aimed to refocus impact on empowering sellers, environmental responsibility, and diversity.

  • Companies embrace the idea of being purpose-driven to solve social/environmental issues while generating profits, pursuing “win-win” solutions that benefit all stakeholders. But these ideal win-wins are difficult and uncommon in reality.

  • “Deep purpose” leaders like Etsy’s Josh Silverman take a pragmatic approach, acknowledging the challenges and imperfectly navigating tradeoffs between stakeholders. They make sometimes painful decisions that may not satisfy everyone in the short-term but benefit all eventually.

  • Critics argue the win-win doctrine falters because business leaders aren’t positioned to balance competing stakeholder interests. Others say it impedes efficient capital allocation.

  • In reality, social and financial goals often conflict. Companies struggle to abandon profit pursuit to truly embrace social goals. Leaders must creatively negotiate tradeoffs, often requiring stakeholders to sacrifice something for long-term collective benefit.

  • Etsy made hard choices like layoffs to boost efficiency, productivity and eventually sales. This delivered gains for shareholders but also more resources to pursue social/environmental goals, benefiting communities.

  • Though imperfect, Etsy’s pragmatic tradeoff navigation exemplifies “deep purpose” leadership - embracing discomfort to stay true to purpose while delivering eventual wins for all stakeholders.

  • Etsy restructured to focus more intentionally on social impact goals in three key areas, while also improving its commercial performance. This demonstrates that companies can serve both social purpose and profits.

  • However, perfect “win-win” solutions that benefit all stakeholders equally are often unattainable. Leaders should not rigidly pursue perfection at the expense of real, if imperfect, progress.

  • Deep purpose leaders adopt a mindset of “practical idealism” - aiming to benefit both social and commercial imperatives but understanding tradeoffs are inevitable. They immerse themselves in these tradeoffs.

  • Practical idealism involves three principles: 1) Always aim for decisions that benefit both purpose and profit, 2) Avoid decisions that only benefit profit without social value, 3) Take bold risks on purpose-driven ideas, doing everything possible to make them commercially viable too.

  • This willingness to start with a purpose-first idea and work to make it profitable too requires courage but shows deep commitment to purpose. Leaders feel confident they can find a way to transform socially-driven ideas into purpose AND profit.

  • In summary, while win-win solutions are ideal, deep purpose leaders don’t rigidly demand perfection. Through practical idealism, they work within constraints to benefit social and commercial interests as much as realities allow.

  • Recruit beckoned employees to step up with suggestions after the scandal in 1988. Leaders held dramatic late-night sessions and decided to restore the company’s credibility by creating a new Recruit more attuned to social roles/responsibilities and duties to shareholders.

  • The company adopted a new “corporate philosophy” to help establish a free, dynamic human community by creating value and working toward harmony with society. It adopted new management principles of “create new value,” “respect each individual,” and “contribute to society.”

  • “Create new value” replaced the previous principle of “quest for commercial rationality,” signaling a desire to balance social value and economics. Recruit wanted to be a sincere company embraced by and moving with society.

  • An example is Study Sapuri, an online learning platform for disadvantaged students, which has required patience and lost money but delivers social value. Recruit believes in starting in the Good Samaritan box with faith it can make such ventures commercially viable over time.

  • Gotham Greens uses plastic packaging despite its sustainability mission because compostable alternatives dried out produce faster, resulting in more food waste. After research, plastic was seen as the most sustainable option available to balance shelf life, quality, and environmental impact.

  • The company continuously searches for better eco-packaging options, showing an ongoing commitment to purpose over profits. The tradeoffs highlight the complexity of purpose-driven business.

  • Plastic packaging is widely used in grocery aisles today because it allows companies to sell affordable products that consumers will buy.

  • Gotham Greens felt compelled to use plastic packaging despite its environmental impact in order to create a viable business model. The company hopes to eventually switch to more eco-friendly packaging when technology advances allow it.

  • This example shows how purpose can help leaders navigate difficult tradeoffs when there is no perfect solution. Gotham Greens used its purpose as a guiding “North Star” to arrive at a packaging solution that balanced business needs with environmental ideals.

  • Leaders motivated by purpose will work harder to find win-win scenarios. Even imperfect solutions aligned with purpose can produce benefits like trust from stakeholders.

  • The key lessons are to approach decisions with the intention of benefitting all stakeholders, think creatively about possible solutions, consult stakeholders about their needs, and use purpose as a guiding light when making difficult tradeoffs.

  • Facebook announced a new company purpose in 2017 to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” The founder argued this would help solve global problems by making people care about those in other countries.

  • However, in the years since, Facebook has faced criticism for increasing tribalism, hatred, mistrust, and misinformation rather than reducing it.

  • Examples include spreading false rumors leading to lynchings in India, contributing to genocide of Muslims in Myanmar by failing to stop hate speech, providing a platform for terrorists, sex traffickers, and white supremacists.

  • Facebook banned certain content like Holocaust denial only after years of pressure. This raised questions about the sincerity of its purpose and efforts to combat hate.

  • Surveys show declining public trust in Facebook’s positive impact and view it as wielding too much power in society.

  • Overall, Facebook seems to be a case of “convenient purpose” where the articulated purpose is not matched by substantive actions and policies to fulfill it. The company has faced criticism for purpose-washing without making meaningful change.

  • Facebook has faced criticism for not doing enough to combat hate speech and misinformation on its platform, despite stating its purpose is to “give people the power to build community.” Critics say it prioritizes profits over purpose.

  • Research shows pursuing purpose can boost financial performance, yet many companies like Facebook don’t fully commit due to lack of understanding of how purpose drives performance.

  • Deep purpose companies understand four key benefits of purpose that drive performance:

  1. Directional - Serves as a “North Star” to guide strategy and innovation.

  2. Relational - Sustains credibility/trust with partners, enabling long-term relationships.

  3. Reputational - Builds customer affinity, loyalty and trust.

  4. Motivational - Inspires and motivates employees.

  • Bühler, a Swiss plant equipment manufacturer, shows how extreme commitment to purpose (tackling climate change) has fueled its growth, by using it to guide strategy, build partnerships, attract customers, and motivate employees.

  • Unlike Facebook, Bühler embraced its purpose completely, pushing hard to maximize benefits, rather than pursuing it superficially. This understanding of purpose as a performance driver sets deep purpose companies like Bühler apart.

  • Bühler’s 50th anniversary in 2010 prompted deep reflection by leaders on the company’s purpose. They adopted “innovations for a better world” to capture their goal of reimagining food production globally to solve humanitarian and environmental problems.

  • Leaders recognized Bühler’s unique opportunity to transform the wasteful, inefficient global food supply chain given its central position. Purpose served as a guiding “North Star” for strategy and innovation.

  • In 2011-2019, Bühler set increasingly ambitious sustainability goals for reducing energy, waste, and water usage in customers’ production processes. Purpose drove focused innovation across the food production ecosystem.

  • CEO Stefan Scheiber helped drive Bühler’s purpose starting in the 1980s. In 2016 he positioned Bühler as leader of a sustainability movement, collaborating across the value chain.

  • Bühler’s “Networking Days” conference convened the industry around sustainability. Customers embraced Bühler taking leadership on these issues.

  • Purpose created a tightly bound ecosystem of partners united by higher shared goals, enabling collaborative innovation towards sustainability.

  • Bühler held its second Networking Days event in 2019, bringing together partners across industries to collaborate on solutions incorporating AI and digital technologies. This furthers Bühler’s purpose of contributing to global food security and sustainability.

  • Purpose helps companies like Bühler build ecosystems of long-term partnerships based on shared goals and values. It fosters trust and facilitates collaboration.

  • Purpose also enhances reputation with customers. Younger consumers in particular favor purpose-driven brands. It helps create an emotional bond and community based on shared values.

  • Bühler’s purpose has helped strengthen partnerships with customers like M. Dias Branco and Ardent Mills that have similar sustainability values. It provides a “cultural fit.”

  • However, some customers are skeptical of Bühler’s sustainability focus, fearing it distracts from business value. Bühler must convince all customers of the economic rationale for its offerings.

  • While purpose is not the sole factor, it can be a differentiator once customers evaluate Bühler’s products/services favorably on metrics like quality and price. It provides an emotional rationale for choosing Bühler.

  • Companies can generate value through purpose by improving their reputation and relationships with customers, attracting and motivating employees, driving innovation, and enabling growth.

  • Purpose builds trust and loyalty with customers who share similar values. But companies must back up purpose statements with meaningful action, or they risk coming across as inauthentic.

  • Purpose provides meaning and fulfillment for employees, increasing engagement and motivation. But again, companies must enact their purpose, not just talk about it.

  • Bühler provides an example of a company that has leaned into its purpose of contributing to global food security and sustainability. This has boosted innovation, helped attract and retain talent, and fueled the company’s growth.

  • Leaders must move beyond seeing purpose merely as a cost or license to operate. Pursuing a deep sense of purpose can be highly generative, increasing value for stakeholders as well as shareholders.

  • Deep purpose leaders look to the past when defining their company’s purpose, immersing themselves in the intentions of founders and early employees to uncover themes that capture the company’s essence or “soul.”

  • This attention to history lends the purpose extra weight and emotional resonance, resulting in deeper commitment. It serves as a bridge to the future, grounding the path ahead.

  • The metaphor of the Sankofa bird from Ghanaian folklore embodies this idea - the bird flies forward while looking backward. Past wisdom can help address future obstacles.

  • An example is given of a struggling toy company bringing in a young, unconventional CEO to turn things around. She immersed herself in the company’s origins and ideals to rediscover its timeless essence.

  • This enabled her to chart a bold new path forward focused on the company’s original purpose - bringing joy and development to children worldwide through great toys. Sales rebounded as she realigned operations with this refreshed sense of higher purpose.

  • Looking backward connects companies to their animating essence and helps leaders ground the path ahead. It paradoxically propels organizations forward in a meaningful, purpose-driven way.

  • Jørgen Vig Knudstorp became CEO of Lego in 2004 when the company was in dire financial straits after years of declining performance.

  • Knudstorp took drastic steps to stabilize Lego, including simplifying the product line, outsourcing manufacturing, and laying off employees. This returned Lego to profitability.

  • Knudstorp then focused on reconnecting Lego to its core purpose and identity. He studied the company’s history and spoke to long-time employees, fans, and experts to understand Lego’s founding spirit and values.

  • Knudstorp realized Lego’s core purpose was to provide opportunities for children to learn and grow creatively through “good play.” This tied back to founder Ole Kirk Christiansen’s vision in starting the company.

  • Knudstorp also revived Lego’s motto “Only the best is good enough,” seeing it not as perfectionism but as striving to be a great company for all stakeholders.

  • Rediscovering Lego’s historical purpose and values galvanized employees behind Knudstorp’s growth strategy. Over 4 years starting in 2007, Lego achieved 400% profit growth despite the recession.

  • Like Knudstorp, other “deep purpose” leaders studied their company’s origins to define an animating purpose versus imposing one. This purpose from the past helped propel their companies forward.

  • The concept of a “moral community” refers to a group bound together by shared moral values and a sense of purpose. This can foster camaraderie, belonging, and inspiration.

  • Business enterprises can function as moral communities by connecting stakeholders to a shared history and set of values. This gives the organization’s purpose extra weight and sacredness.

  • Leaders can build this sense of moral community by rediscovering and highlighting the organization’s origins, founders’ values, and past heroic efforts to overcome adversity.

  • Immersing people in the company’s history instills reverence for its authentic moral values and ambitions. It emotionally ties them to something bigger than themselves.

  • Shared history and values form the basis for a collective identity and sense of purpose. This unites and inspires people to take action for the community’s causes.

  • Ultimately, this can transform an enterprise into something that provides meaning, focus, and transcendence for its members. It becomes more than just a company - it approaches the role of a faith community.

  • Deep purpose leaders connect the present with the past, grounding the company’s reason for being in its heritage and origins. This lends the purpose authenticity and inspires emotional investment from employees.

  • At Lego, the company’s purpose rooted in its founder’s motto of “only the best is good enough” has transformed employee engagement and strengthened commitment and passion. Employees hold leaders accountable to living up to the company’s historical values.

  • Deep purpose leaders balance nostalgia for the past with a postalgic view of breaking from tradition to forge a new path. They aim to inspire the future while honoring the past.

  • Leaders should be explicit about navigating this nostalgia-postalgia tension. Satya Nadella at Microsoft sought to rediscover the company’s soul while also envisioning a better future.

  • Leaders should foster critical dialogue about the past, not blind veneration. Steve Jobs created Apple University to impart the company’s DNA through analyzing past decisions, not promoting dogma.

  • By interpreting the past with nuance, leaders can craft a purpose that connects to heritage while inspiring new thinking. Looking backward while looking forward is key.

  • Purpose-driven leaders like Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Jørgen Vig Knudstorp at LEGO have successfully turned around struggling companies by recovering and recommitting to the company’s core purpose rooted in its past.

  • They treat the past as a bridge to the future - rediscovering the company’s early energy and values to transform it into a moral community dedicated to a transcendent mission. This creates emotional connections while providing a guidepost for change.

  • Leaders can encourage critical engagement with company history to help employees understand past principles and decisions, and evaluate their relevance today. This fosters ownership of purpose.

  • Purpose should be a “living document” that is periodically re-examined and updated while retaining core elements. Stress-testing purpose in this way clarifies relevance, drives commitment, and prepares the company to uphold purpose during crises.

  • Reconnecting with purpose rooted in past can provide motivation and principles for change, enabling innovation while retaining company’s distinctive soul. Rather than just bringing in outsiders, leaders should explore company history to rediscover animating purpose.

  • Deep purpose leaders go beyond slogans and rallying cries when communicating purpose. Instead, they tell a grand, foundational story about the company that lends depth and meaning to the enterprise.

  • In telling this story, leaders make the purpose personal by discussing it in human terms. They also establish a sense of shared ownership of the purpose among employees.

  • Leaders evoke an urgency to embrace the purpose in the present moment through their storytelling.

  • The storytelling convenes diverse stakeholders into a moral community, allowing intense bonds to form between them and the company.

  • By telling an engaging narrative about the company’s origins, struggles, heroes, and ideals, leaders can inspire feelings of meaning, belonging, and responsibility in employees.

  • Storytelling makes the purpose come alive in a vivid, memorable way compared to abstract mission statements or slogans.

  • When done effectively, such storytelling can motivate employees, convene a diverse workforce, and sustain a powerful sense of higher purpose in the organization over time.

  • Inspiring stories about customers and employees humanize organizations and convey their deeper purpose, but typically don’t convey the company’s existential intent or core values.

  • Deep purpose leaders go beyond feel-good stories to craft a compelling “Big Story” about the enterprise’s ambition to create positive change in the world. This story critiques the status quo, evokes the company’s values, and issues a rallying cry for stakeholders to unite behind the purpose.

  • Indra Nooyi exemplifies a deep purpose leader. As PepsiCo’s CEO, she introduced the strategy “Performance with Purpose” in 2006 to pursue both commercial and social benefits. This included making PepsiCo’s products healthier, more sustainable, and better for consumers while still delivering strong financial returns.

  • Nooyi devoted herself to reinforcing this Big Story over many years through her leadership. She portrayed PepsiCo as on a quest to positively impact society while outperforming rivals. Her narrative inspired stakeholders and drove strategic decisions.

  • PepsiCo’s new CEO Indra Nooyi introduced a strategy called “Performance with Purpose” that aimed to make the company’s products healthier and more environmentally sustainable while being a responsible corporate citizen.

  • This new purpose faced resistance from stakeholders like independent bottlers who feared selling less soda, investors who felt PepsiCo was losing focus on profits, and some employees who struggled to change old habits.

  • To promote the strategy, Nooyi tirelessly communicated a “Big Story” explaining that the world was changing and PepsiCo needed to evolve its social responsibilities to remain relevant in the future.

  • Nooyi grounded the narrative in data about consumer and employee trends, arguing PepsiCo could balance purpose and profits through careful planning.

  • She acknowledged tradeoffs but conveyed that PepsiCo could make steady progress on its ambitious vision through discipline and effort over time.

  • Nooyi customized the Big Story for different audiences but kept consistent themes about PepsiCo’s destiny and ability to drive positive change.

  • Other leaders like Danone’s CEO also promote an emotionally compelling “Big Story” linking the company’s purpose to societal needs and a better future.

  • Though the Big Story seems simple, leaders elaborate on it in different ways to establish intimacy and highlight its moral urgency, mobilizing stakeholders.

  • Leaders tell “stories of self” to establish their credibility and convey their moral values. These are stories about critical moments and choices they faced that reveal their character.

  • Emmanuel Faber shares a story about coping with his brother’s schizophrenia and death, showing how it shaped his view of leadership and belief in purpose.

  • Indra Nooyi references her childhood experiences lacking running water to explain her conviction that companies must act responsibly.

  • Leaders also tell “stories of us” about the organization’s defining moments and choices to elicit a sense of shared identity and values.

  • Nooyi depicts PepsiCo staying committed to its purpose during a difficult 2008, revealing its resilience as a moral community.

  • “Stories of now” convey an urgent challenge the group faces and the need to act now to shape the future.

  • Faber tells one about problems with the global food system, presenting Danone’s initiatives as a way forward if the industry commits to reform.

In sum, leaders use different types of stories to establish their credibility, share the organization’s identity and values, and motivate action on current challenges.

Here are a few key lessons from the passage on how leaders can effectively convey and embody deep purpose:

  • Use narrative building to craft a compelling “Big Story” that connects the company’s purpose to broader societal needs and taps into people’s emotions. Make the purpose feel urgent and consequential.

  • Employ Marshall Ganz’s “Self-Us-Now” framework when communicating purpose. Talk about your personal values and experiences (“Self”), connect purpose to the company’s shared identity (“Us”), and link it to current challenges and opportunities (“Now”).

  • Don’t just communicate the purpose through words - embody it through consistent actions and behaviors. Show you truly believe in the purpose and are willing to make sacrifices for it.

  • Complement narrative building with concrete management actions that embed the purpose, like making key hires aligned with it and sticking by it during challenges.

  • Tap into your authentic self when conveying purpose. Internalize it rather than just reciting it. Connect with your deepest convictions.

  • Have the courage to take risks and make sacrifices to realize the purpose. Don’t just watch from the sidelines - lead the charge.

The key is integrating the “poetry” of purpose with the “plumbing” of day-to-day leadership. Make purpose enduring by embedding it deeply through narratives, behaviors, and management actions. Live out the purpose authentically.

  • Deep purpose leaders connect the organization’s purpose with each employee’s personal purpose and growth. This fires up intrinsic motivation and commitment.

  • These leaders craft inclusive cultures that emphasize self-expression, development, and enabling employees to find meaning and purpose in their work.

  • They provide opportunities for employees to live the organizational purpose in their own way by connecting it to their personal reasons for working.

  • An example is Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, who embraced the nonconformist running back Marshawn Lynch. Carroll focused on bringing out Lynch’s talents on the field rather than trying to force him to conform off the field.

  • Carroll created a culture that enabled Lynch to be himself. This released Lynch’s full potential and helped the team succeed.

  • Deep purpose leaders think carefully about organizational culture as a tool to inspire people to live the purpose through their daily work in an authentic way. Culture connects the organizational narrative with each employee’s inner motivations.

  • Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, takes an unusual approach to team culture and leadership. Rather than demanding conformity and discipline, he celebrates players’ individuality and self-expression.

  • Carroll believes that unleashing team members to thrive as individuals and express their talents will empower them to advance collective goals. He strives to build personal relationships with players and support their personal growth.

  • Carroll sees connections between individual and organizational purpose. Helping team members explore their personal philosophies and passions allows them to align these with the team’s shared purpose.

  • Traditional notions of culture emphasize conformity. But deep purpose leaders reinvent cultures to make space for individuality alongside conformity.

  • They build inclusive cultures where people can contribute in their own way to the common purpose, within certain bounds. This enables people to feel fulfilled personally while committed to the company’s purpose.

  • Ovia Health seeks to provide equal maternal healthcare, especially for women of color. Its culture values individuality with the motto “be yourself, be candid, be kind.” Employees feel comfortable expressing themselves.

  • Deep purpose cultures allow individuality while directing it towards collective goals. People’s passions and the company vision become intertwined.

  • Deep purpose leaders understand that employees’ commitment to the organizational purpose is connected to their own self-knowledge and sense of personal purpose.

  • By welcoming employees’ basic humanity and helping them thrive as individuals, leaders galvanize them to rally powerfully behind the organization’s purpose.

  • Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks exemplifies being fiercely individual while also being committed to the team’s purpose.

  • Startups like Ovia Health and Livongo align employees’ personal purposes with the company’s purpose through inclusive, individuality-affirming cultures.

  • At KPMG, a campaign asking employees to share personal stories of their purpose at work boosted engagement and meaning.

  • Employees have a strong, pent-up desire to experience more purpose and meaning in their work. Translating the organizational purpose into a personal purpose makes it seem real and energizing to them.

  • Leaders must go beyond top-down messaging to help employees connect the organizational purpose to their own self-knowledge and passions. This unleashes their full commitment and performance.

  • In 2014, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella held a special session with his leadership team to connect their personal philosophies and life purposes to their roles at Microsoft. This marked the beginning of an effort to transform Microsoft’s culture.

  • Nadella wanted to move away from Microsoft’s recent smug, competitive culture and re-ground the company in a sense of purpose - specifically, empowering people and organizations.

  • But he knew purpose alone wasn’t enough - the culture had to bring that purpose to life within the organization. Employees needed to be able to pursue their own sense of purpose through their work.

  • This led to the idea of Microsoft as a platform - employees could use the company to pursue their passions and fulfill their life purpose, which would ultimately serve the company’s purpose as well.

  • Research shows that when employees find their work meaningful and purposeful, they are more motivated, engaged, and inspired. Inspired employees vastly outperform satisfied ones.

  • Microsoft now provides opportunities for all employees to explore their life purpose and connect it to the company’s mission of empowering others. This includes leadership training, personal stories, and even financial support for purpose-driven projects.

  • The example of John Kahan shows how one employee was able to use company resources to pursue a purpose connected to a personal tragedy, creating something beneficial for Microsoft and society.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Deep purpose leaders may prompt employees to consider not just their job or career purpose, but also their broader life purpose. This involves intense, searching dialogues about what matters most to employees as people.

  • Exploring life purpose can be risky if employees’ personal purposes conflict with the organizational purpose. But leaders believe the benefits outweigh the risks.

  • Knowing one’s life purpose fuels exceptional performance. It allows people to be their fullest selves and tap their highest motivation and creativity.

  • Psychologist Abraham Maslow believed self-actualization leads to transcending selfishness and serving society. Deep purpose leaders connect employees’ life purposes to the organizational purpose.

  • Companies like Microsoft, the Seattle Seahawks, Ovia Health, Livongo, and KPMG have achieved strong results by building “cultures of me” focused on employees’ psychological needs and life purposes.

  • Leaders who pursue deep purpose often rethink traditional bureaucratic structures in their organizations to enable more innovation, agility, and growth.

  • They take two key steps: 1) Giving more autonomy to lower-level employees and managers by flattening hierarchies, and 2) Fostering collaboration across functions, business units, and other traditional organizational silos.

  • These moves enable greater trust and commitment to the organization’s purpose among employees. At the same time, having a shared sense of purpose facilitates these structural changes by building trust.

  • Traditional bureaucratic structures can thwart employees’ pursuit of purpose and make committing to organizational purpose frustrating. Empathizing with employees, purpose-driven leaders overhaul these structures.

  • By moving away from rigid hierarchy and silos, and enabling more employee autonomy and collaboration, purpose-driven leaders create conditions for people to pursue individual and organizational ambitions to their fullest potential.

  • Bureaucracies were created to increase efficiency and accountability through standardized processes and hierarchical management. However, Max Weber warned that bureaucracies can become soul-destroying “iron cages” that stifle human expression and independent thinking.

  • Bureaucracies still provide benefits like consistency and accountability but have become inefficient and slow-moving in today’s digital world. They can cause companies to ignore customers and new opportunities.

  • GM’s bureaucracy contributed to its failure to address faulty ignition switches that led to fatal accidents. Its organizational silos prevented information sharing, while its culture discouraged individual initiative and responsibility.

  • In response, GM’s new CEO Mary Barra has worked to reduce bureaucracy and make the company more responsive and agile. Initiatives include improving communication flows, breaking down silos, and creating collaborative programs to engage employees.

  • GM’s organizational reforms have coincided with adopting a clearer corporate purpose focused on improving mobility and communities. This suggests a link between reducing bureaucracy and connecting to purpose.

In summary, while bureaucracies provide needed structure, overly rigid bureaucracies can thwart purpose-driven organizations. Reducing bureaucracy may allow purpose to shine through and motivate employees.

  • GM has made commitments to an all-electric future and carbon neutrality, suggesting it may be becoming a deep purpose company.

  • Deep purpose companies tend to break free of bureaucratic structures in two main ways:

  1. Solving the “Too Many Bosses” problem by flattening hierarchies and increasing autonomy.

  2. Solving the “Entrenched Silos” problem by encouraging collaboration across functions and units.

  • Purpose fosters trust, enabling more humane, autonomous ways of organizing. Autonomy also builds trust, further embedding purpose.

  • At Mahindra, the broad corporate purpose “Rise” was communicated but each business unit had autonomy in how to implement it. This autonomy energized employees and doubled profits.

  • Autonomy taps intrinsic motivation and meets the human need for self-determination. It leads to greater engagement when linked to a larger purpose.

  • Autonomy and purpose are connected through trust. Leaders trusted employees more, and employees trusted the company more when they had autonomy to pursue the purpose.

Here is a summary of the key points about the connections between purpose, autonomy, and trust:

  • Deep purpose companies like Warby Parker establish a strong sense of mission and purpose that goes beyond profits. This purpose aims to benefit society in some way.

  • Pursuing such a purpose requires empowering employees with autonomy and trusting them to make decisions to advance the mission. Leaders at these companies explicitly communicate their trust in employees.

  • Granting autonomy prompts employees to trust leaders and the company more in return. They see the company is living up to its lofty goals and trusting them to contribute. This creates a virtuous circle of mutual trust and commitment to the shared purpose.

  • The autonomy granted is not total freedom, but “freedom within a framework.” Companies provide guidance through the mission statement, priorities derived from business goals, and principles that translate those into daily behaviors. This scaffolding makes autonomy more effective.

  • Shared purpose facilitated by autonomy and trust helps break down rigid silos and lack of collaboration that plague many companies. It provides a unifying mission that coordinates different units. Employees proactively cooperate to advance the purpose.

In summary, purpose, autonomy, and trust form an interlinked nexus that transforms organizational culture and performance, overcoming problems like silos, poor collaboration, and disengagement. This nexus liberates organizations from the “iron cage” of strict control toward a more dynamic, engaged, and innovative way of operating.

  • After 9/11, the FBI faced pressure from the Bush administration to shift its focus from investigating past crimes to preventing future attacks. This required breaking down silos and improving collaboration across the organization.

  • Mueller centralized counterterrorism activities and created new teams to gather intelligence and coordinate across field offices. This enhanced coordination across the FBI.

  • To improve cooperation, Mueller leveraged the FBI’s new sense of purpose after 9/11. He emphasized the preventative mission, instilled a culture of partnership between different roles, and used performance reviews to reinforce collaboration.

  • Mueller also prioritized improving coordination with external partners like local law enforcement. Joint terrorism task forces were formed to build relationships and ensure smooth information sharing.

  • In general, a shared purpose can foster greater collaboration across silos by aligning interests and activities. It promotes coordination by providing a common orientation. It enables cooperation by building trust that everyone is working toward the same goal and values.

  • At Warby Parker, the company’s purpose fostered trust between colleagues, creating a community united by shared values. This trust fueled collaboration across departments.

  • Leaders like Neil Blumenthal nurtured collaboration by emphasizing an inclusive, “fun” work environment where it felt safe to work together. They also signaled the importance of coordination from the top.

  • Supporting collaboration strengthens trust and commitment to purpose, creating a virtuous cycle. This further embeds the company’s reason for being.

  • To make their companies more agile and innovative, leaders should start with purpose when seeking to enable more autonomy and collaboration. Purpose provides the trust needed for these approaches to flourish.

  • Leaders should move from “managing” to empowering, though this requires a mindset shift. Employees may also resist the changes. Go slowly, allowing trust to build. Start with small experiments.

  • Conceive of yourself as your organization’s “chief orchestrator and manager of trust.” Consider how your actions will build or diminish trust.

  • Purpose is not a quick fix. You must do the hard work of reimagining and implementing organizational change to escape the “iron cage.” This is an ongoing process.

  • Boeing was eager to produce a new 737 Max jet to compete with Airbus’s A320neo. It rushed the development timeline to under 5 years.

  • The inaugural flight of the first 737 Max in 2016 was seen as a success, with over 5,000 orders by 2018.

  • However, two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 grounded the planes due to a faulty sensor triggering an automated flight control system (MCAS) to force the plane’s nose down.

  • Investigations found Boeing should have had fail-safe redundancies and informed pilots of the MCAS. But it wanted to avoid delays and extra pilot training costs.

  • Boeing initially deflected blame to pilot error but eventually had to modify the MCAS system. Production is halted as Boeing faces major financial losses from the grounding.

  • The crashes have punctured the mythos of Boeing’s engineering prowess and marred the launch of their “airplane of the second century.” Boeing faces a long road to regaining trust and getting the 737 Max flying again.

  • Boeing’s disastrous 737 Max product launch can be attributed to a drift from the company’s deeper purpose and values over time.

  • Founded in 1916, Boeing was initially focused on technological progress and innovation in aviation. Employees took pride in producing high-quality, innovative aircraft.

  • This began to change following Boeing’s 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas. The new management prioritized efficiency, cost-cutting, and shareholder value over innovation.

  • The cultural erosion at Boeing is seen as a direct cause of the 737 Max debacle, as profit was prioritized over safety.

  • The loss of purpose at companies like Boeing that have long operated purposefully can feel demoralizing, like an abandonment of the company’s ideals.

  • Leaders can “future-proof” purpose and prevent derailment through awareness of four key “purpose-derailers”:

  1. The Personification Paradox: When purpose is too tied to a leader who inevitably departs
  2. Death by Inadequate Measurement: Not measuring purpose creates ambiguity and drift
  3. The Do-Gooder’s Dilemma: Pursuing social good compromises profitability
  4. The Purpose-Strategy Split: Misalignment between purpose and strategy
  • Leaders can address these derailers through thoughtful succession planning, measurement, balancing social good with profit, and aligning purpose with strategy. Though imperfect, these preventative actions make a difference.

  • When new leaders take over companies with a strong sense of purpose, they must find the right balance between honoring the legacy of their predecessor while also putting their own stamp on the purpose and leadership approach. Some make more explicit changes by modifying the stated purpose, while others take a softer approach of transitioning from “founder-led” to “founder-inspired.”

  • Leaders struggle to develop adequate quantitative metrics to measure adherence to and progress on purpose. Without good measurement systems, companies risk under-delivering on their purpose over time. Surveys suggest investors want robust key performance indicators tied to purpose.

  • Attempts to directly measure subjective perceptions of purpose have limitations. More indirect approaches involve tracking indicators of the behaviors and mindsets that embody purpose, such as employee engagement, customer sentiment, or social/environmental impact. But even leading purpose-driven companies have yet to fully crack the measurement challenge.

  • The lack of good purpose measurement systems, dubbed “Death by (Inadequate) Measurement,” makes it harder for companies to fully deliver on their purpose and reason for being. Developing better ways to gauge purpose quantitatively remains an important frontier for purpose-driven leaders.

  • Companies use various metrics to track progress on their purpose, though measuring something as existential as purpose presents challenges.

  • Some companies track “purpose antecedents” - conditions that enable purpose - via surveys on employee perceptions. Others make the purpose more concrete by defining principles and behaviors linked to it.

  • Many companies track end-state outcomes related to ESG (environmental, social, governance) goals as a proxy for purpose. These include sustainability metrics like environmental impact.

  • EY has one of the more sophisticated systems, linking its purpose to four types of long-term value - client, people, social, financial. It uses metrics and goals for each.

  • Purpose relates to the human dimension of business, which is hard to quantify. But leaders of purpose-driven companies make the effort to measure what they can.

  • Pursuing purpose doesn’t preclude value for shareholders. Danone’s CEO was ousted for failing to balance social impact with economic performance, not for pursuing purpose itself.

  • Leaders must manage shareholder expectations carefully and avoid letting commitment to “doing good” overshadow business growth and profits. This is the “Do-Gooder’s Dilemma.”

  • Leaders who pursue social goals can wrongly assume that doing good gives them a pass on financial performance. But no one gets a pass - strong financial results are still required.

  • Investors often have even higher expectations of leaders pursuing social goals. Leaders must balance social and commercial logics. Ignoring profits can prompt an overcorrection away from social goals, as happened at Boeing.

  • It’s easy for strategy and purpose to diverge. Leaders may see them as separate activities. Pressures may tempt leaders to choose short-term gains over long-term purpose.

  • Deep purpose leaders keep strategy aligned with purpose by considering impact goals in planning, making purpose the starting point for strategy, and making external commitments to purpose. Some create binding commitments via B Corp status or legal structures like public benefit corporations.

  • External commitments like integrated reporting, sustainability goals, and benefit corporation status can hold leaders accountable to the purpose over the long term and keep strategy focused.

Here are some key action steps leaders can consider based on the book’s main points:

  • Take stock of how your company currently engages with purpose - is it superficial, convenient, aligned only in some areas? Assess how deeply purpose is embedded in your operating model and actions.

  • Re-examine your purpose statement - does it convey an inspiring aspiration and emphasize both social and commercial priorities? If not, restate it.

  • Embrace a new understanding of purpose as a transformational operating system that drives performance, not just a feel-good statement.

  • Lean into tradeoffs between stakeholders rather than avoiding them. Investigate perspectives and use your purpose as a guiding star.

  • Build organizational courage to make bold purpose-driven moves, even if divisive. Foster honest conversations on difficult topics.

  • Scrutinize all aspects of your business through a purpose lens - offerings, processes, partnerships, policies, metrics. What must change?

  • Make purpose tangible through organizational design - governance, roles, teams, decision rights focused on purpose.

  • Align purpose with strategy and operations at all levels. Review processes, systems, incentives against purpose.

  • Turn employees into purpose ambassadors. Communicate and engage them continuously around living the purpose.

  • Personally role model purpose-driven leadership in all your actions and decisions. Purpose starts with you.

  • Measure and track progress on purpose qualitatively and quantitatively. Regularly re-examine commitment.

  • Protect against derailers - convenient purpose, co-optation, complacency. Devise safeguards to stay on track.

Here is a summary of the key points from each chapter:

Chapter 1: Define your purpose clearly and compellingly. Make it authentic and meaningful. Communicate it continuously. Let it guide decision-making.

Chapter 2: Balance social and commercial value. Communicate tradeoffs transparently. Refer back to your purpose.

Chapter 3: Let purpose drive strategy. Use purpose in recruiting and onboarding. Assess branding and marketing. Adjust stakeholder conversations.

Chapter 4: Conduct a historical audit of purpose. Hold ongoing “purpose discussions.” Connect the past and future. Train people in principled decision-making.

Chapter 5: Craft a “Big Story” for your purpose that inspires action. Be vulnerable. Reframe crises in relation to purpose. Live the purpose.

Chapter 6: Make work personal. Invite employees to explore personal purpose. Connect personal and organizational purpose. Build a culture that preserves individuality. Project caring leadership.

Chapter 7: Break bureaucratic mindset. Grant more autonomy within bounds. Enhance coordination and cooperation. Build a community of purpose. Let purpose shape structure.

Here is a summary of key points from Chapter 8:

  • Check your organization’s commitment to its purpose regularly. Purpose naturally decays over time without care and attention. Assess if energy around the purpose has waned, if it still shapes decisions, if people understand it and live it daily, and if stakeholders believe in it.

  • Inject purpose into succession planning. Work with your successor to map out how they can carry the purpose torch while making it their own. Incoming leaders should take steps to accept the mantle of purpose.

  • Develop purpose-related metrics. Measure inputs that enable purpose, not just results. Use surveys, outcome measures, ESG metrics, principles/behaviors derived from purpose, and connections to long-term value creation.

  • Balance social and commercial commitments. Clarify stakeholder expectations, negotiate when needed, and benchmark against peers. Take action when slipping on any commitment.

  • Make purpose part of strategy and operating rhythm. Do a “purpose gut check” on strategies, choices, and resource allocation to ensure alignment. Encourage debate for ownership. Consider public commitments and transparency.

  • Stay inspired by aligning personal and organizational purpose. Reflect on your leadership legacy and contribution. Make changes if you’ve lost inspiration.

  • Approach deep purpose as an ongoing, open-ended project rather than a one-time initiative. Start small with relevant, actionable steps. It transforms businesses and their societal roles. Pursuing deep purpose allows commercial success and social value maximization.

  • The author is grateful to over 200 business leaders who generously shared their experiences pursuing a higher purpose within their organizations. Their candid stories provided invaluable insights.

  • Conducting over 200 interviews and turning them into teaching cases and book material was a massive undertaking that required help from many people. The author lists numerous research partners, assistants, and advisors who provided invaluable support.

  • The author is grateful to colleagues who guided him to relevant prior research on organizational purpose. This helped contextualize and build on existing work.

  • Being at Harvard Business School, an organization with a strong sense of purpose itself, provided an ideal setting to study this topic. The author is indebted to HBS faculty who laid the groundwork for research on purpose.

  • Interactions with senior leaders in Harvard’s Advanced Management Program provided early glimpses into the power of organizational purpose.

  • The author is inspired by the work and philosophy of past researchers who studied important problems and translated insights into practice.

  • Guidance from scholars who successfully bridged academia and practice was invaluable in envisioning and navigating this book project.

  • The author thanks his family for tolerating his preoccupation with writing this book. He hopes his children continue to find purpose in their lives.

  • Above all, the author is grateful to his wife who put her own work on hold to support completion of this book. Her commitment to purpose has been a continual source of inspiration.

  • The author was on the right track in identifying companies dedicated to purpose, but many did not receive media attention. To narrow down the list, the author analyzed secondary sources to identify companies taking concrete action on purpose, leaving 34 companies.

  • The author then interviewed executives at these companies to better understand their approach to purpose. This further narrowed the list down to 18 exemplary companies, including some lesser known but impressive firms.

  • The author conducted numerous interviews with leaders, employees, and customers to understand how these companies actualize purpose. Using an inductive approach, the author analyzed interview transcripts to uncover constructs shaping company actions and develop a theory about how they pursue purpose deeply.

  • The process combined noticing patterns in the interviews with identifying gaps in existing research on purpose articulation and activation. It aimed to go beyond surface-level purpose to explore how companies realize purpose in meaningful, compelling, and sustained ways.

In summary, through secondary research, executive interviews, and inductive analysis of stakeholder interviews, the author identified and deeply studied 18 purpose-driven exemplar companies to uncover new insights into purpose actualization.

  • Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods that was founded in 2005 with a socially-minded ethos. However, by 2017 the company was struggling financially and faced criticism from sellers.

  • In 2017, Etsy hired Josh Silverman as CEO to turn the company around. He made tough changes like laying off staff and de-emphasizing Etsy’s social mission. These moves helped improve profits but were controversial.

  • Etsy exemplifies the tensions a purpose-driven company can face between sticking to its ideals and financial viability. Its founders were guided by a noble social purpose but the company struggled to make that financially sustainable.

  • Silverman improved finances by focusing more on economics than social purpose. But this drew backlash from the Etsy community who felt the company was abandoning its original mission.

  • Etsy shows how difficult it can be for a purpose-driven startup to scale up while staying true to its ideals. The company has had to walk a fine line between purpose and profits. Its journey illustrates the inherent tensions in trying to balance social mission and economic sustainability.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article “le-etsy.html”:

  • Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods that was founded in 2005. It struggled to balance its social mission of empowering artisans with the demands of being a public company after its IPO in 2015.

  • Under its founder Rob Kalin, Etsy prided itself on building an anti-corporate culture and B Corp certification. But it struggled financially and had to replace Kalin as CEO in 2011.

  • New CEO Chad Dickerson took Etsy public in 2015 to raise more capital, but this created tensions between Etsy’s values and investor demands. Dickerson was later replaced by Josh Silverman, who cut costs and focused more on profitability.

  • Etsy exemplifies the challenges of a “dual-purpose” company trying to balance social impact with financial returns. It has made tradeoffs over time, reducing some of its social programs.

  • However, Etsy has also tried to align social and business goals, through initiatives like carbon-neutral shipping. It continues to grapple with serving various stakeholders amid rapid growth.

Here is a summary of the key points about Great Place to Work-certified company Becton Dickinson:

  • Becton Dickinson is a medical technology company that manufactures and sells medical devices, equipment, and reagents.

  • It has been certified as a great workplace by Great Place to Work, a global authority on workplace culture.

  • Becton Dickinson fosters a purpose-driven culture focused on advancing global health. Its stated purpose is “We advance the world of health by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the delivery of care.”

  • This purpose guides Becton Dickinson’s strategy and operations. For example, the company partners with organizations like the Gates Foundation to expand access to care in developing countries.

  • Becton Dickinson also invests heavily in R&D to develop innovative solutions to pressing health challenges. Nearly 10% of revenues are reinvested into R&D annually.

  • Employees are engaged and motivated by the opportunity to fulfill Becton Dickinson’s purpose of advancing health through their daily work. This contributes to Becton Dickinson’s certification as a great place to work.

In summary, Becton Dickinson exemplifies how a clear purpose focused on societal impact, beyond just profits, can engage employees and guide strategy in a way that benefits both the business and society. Its Great Place to Work certification reflects its purpose-driven culture.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • Facebook is facing an ad boycott from major advertisers like Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Verizon over its handling of hate speech and misinformation. However, these advertisers only make up a small percentage of Facebook’s revenues.

  • While the ad boycott has damaged Facebook’s reputation, especially among civil rights groups, it likely won’t significantly impact revenues or profits. Most of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from small businesses.

  • Facebook earned $17.7 billion in ad revenue in Q1 2020. Even if hundreds of major brands joined the boycott, it likely wouldn’t reduce revenues by more than a few percentage points.

  • Facebook has faced reputation crises before, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but its business has continued growing rapidly. The network effects of its platforms make it hard for advertisers to quit entirely.

  • Some analysts estimate the ad boycott could reduce Facebook’s revenue growth to 6-7% in Q3, down from 10% normally. But it likely won’t have a long-term financial impact unless user growth stalls.

In summary, while the ad boycott has hurt Facebook’s reputation, especially around civil rights issues, it is unlikely to significantly damage the company’s revenues or business given its dominance in digital advertising and strong network effects. Most analysts agree Facebook will continue growing profits even if more brands temporarily pause spending.

Here is a summary of the key points from the excerpts:

  • Foundation stories in the Hebrew Bible, such as the stories of Abraham and the Exodus, contribute to the notion of the Hebrews as a “chosen people” with a special covenant with God. This has implications for group identity and moral community.

  • Myths, legends, and foundation stories play an important role in nationalism by providing a sense of shared origins and destiny for an ethnic group. They help build group cohesion and identity.

  • Companies like Carlsberg and Johnson & Johnson use their origin stories and histories to cultivate organizational identity and transmit values. Invoking the past can lend authenticity and meaning.

  • However, history must be used judiciously - it risks being inauthentic if cherry-picked or manipulated. Companies like Johnson & Johnson have faced crises when actions violated their storied values.

  • Microsoft, Apple, and Lego reinvented themselves by revisiting their origins. This helped articulate core values and purpose for future direction.

  • Overall, the past is a powerful source of identity, values, and direction. But history must be engaged thoughtfully to avoid misuse and realize its full potential.

  • Leaders often use stories and narratives to motivate and inspire action. Stories can make ideas “sticky”, evoke emotion, and provide concrete examples.

  • Indra Nooyi, as CEO of PepsiCo, used storytelling and the narrative of “Performance with Purpose” to motivate change at the company.

  • Performance with Purpose cast PepsiCo’s business mission in terms of doing good for society - selling healthier products, environmental sustainability, supporting employees.

  • Nooyi told stories highlighting PepsiCo’s positive impact and opportunities to do more good to inspire employees.

  • She framed PepsiCo’s identity around this narrative of being a socially responsible company selling enjoyable products.

  • Nooyi faced skepticism that a junk food company could truly prioritize public health, but persisted with the Performance with Purpose narrative.

  • She focused on incremental changes driven by the narrative, like cutting salt and saturated fat in products.

  • The narrative aimed to unify PepsiCo’s businesses and balance financial goals with social responsibility.

Unfortunately I am unable to summarize the YouTube video as I do not have access to its content. However, here is a brief summary of the key points about Marshawn Lynch and his approach to media interviews:

  • Marshawn Lynch is known for giving short, repetitive answers like “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” during media interviews. This is seen as his way of fulfilling his media obligations while resisting sharing too much about himself.

  • At Super Bowl XLIX media day in 2015, Lynch continued this approach, answering nearly every question with some variant of “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”

  • Some saw Lynch’s approach as rude and uncooperative. Others saw it as a deliberate strategy to avoid distraction and keep the focus on the team.

  • Throughout his NFL career, Lynch has been selective about speaking to the media, preferring to let his performance on the field speak for itself. He seems to regard media attention and questions as phony and intrusive.

  • Lynch’s reticence with the media is consistent with his very private personality off the field. He has faced several legal issues during his career but generally avoids publicity and interviews.

  • His running style and athleticism have earned him the nickname “Beast Mode,” highlighting his powerful and relentless approach to the game.

  • Marshawn Lynch, a star running back for the Seattle Seahawks, was known for being reticent with the media. He often gave short, cryptic answers at press conferences and was fined for not speaking to the media at times. However, the Seahawks organization and coach Pete Carroll supported Lynch’s individuality.

  • Companies like Ovia Health, KPMG, Microsoft, and the Kansas City Chiefs aim to foster cultures where employees feel a sense of purpose in their work. Leadership sets the tone, but also gives employees latitude to craft their roles and pursue projects aligned with their passions.

  • Finding purpose involves connecting work to personal values and interests. It goes beyond engagement to tap into what intrinsically motivates people. Leaders at Microsoft and Ovia Health aim for employees to find transcendence through work.

  • Accommodating individuality, as with Lynch, while building a cohesive culture is a balancing act. Strong cultures increase coordination and motivation, but should avoid coercing conformity. Companies try to allow expression, but in ways that align with shared values and goals.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided sources on Pete Carroll’s case for the NFL coaches Hall of Fame:

  • As of 2020, Pete Carroll had an overall NFL head coaching record of 148-94-1 over 16 seasons with the New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks.

  • He led the Seahawks to 8 playoff appearances, 2 NFC Championships, and 1 Super Bowl championship in his first 10 seasons in Seattle (2010-2019). His Seahawks teams have won at least 10 games 7 times.

  • Carroll is one of just 4 active NFL coaches who have won a Super Bowl, along with Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, and Mike Tomlin.

  • In a 2020 ranking of current NFL coaches’ chances at making the Hall of Fame, Carroll was placed in the second tier behind only Belichick and Payton as near “locks” for induction.

  • Carroll’s long-term success rebuilding the Seahawks into consistent contenders, along with his championship and consistent winning record, make him a strong candidate for Hall of Fame induction once he becomes eligible after retirement.

Here is a summary of the key points from the articles and other sources:

  • In 2019, the Business Roundtable released a statement signed by 181 CEOs redefining the purpose of a corporation to promote “an economy that serves all Americans.” This marked a shift away from shareholder primacy.

  • General Motors has made commitments to become carbon neutral by 2040 and was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2020.

  • Mahindra & Mahindra, an Indian company, has focused on providing prosperity and purpose to stakeholders including employees and rural communities. Initiatives include employee development programs, promoting leadership at all levels, and programs to support rural communities.

  • Warby Parker, an eyeglass startup, was founded with a social mission to provide affordable eyewear and help distribute glasses to those in need. The company engages employees through initiatives like allowing them to name new frame styles.

  • When Robert Mueller became FBI director, he reoriented the agency toward a clear counterterrorism purpose after 9/11. He created a flatter structure, improved collaboration, and empowered employees while maintaining centralized strategy and accountability.

Here is a summary of the key points from the transcript excerpt:

  • The collaboration between the FBI and local police was vital during the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. The FBI had technology to quickly analyze videos from the bombing scene provided by local police to identify suspects.

  • Employees who believe in a company’s purpose tend to trust others more and enjoy working together. This helps create a psychologically safe culture that enables collaboration and communication.

  • Netflix is successful at unleashing innovation and agility but may be missing an opportunity by not orienting itself around a deeper social purpose.

  • The Mahindra Group attributes its success to its purpose-driven culture that empowers people to take initiative.

  • Building a culture of trust enables true empowerment of employees.

Here is a summary of the key points from the note on research methodology:

  • The author used a qualitative, field research-based approach, conducting over 200 interviews across 24 exemplary “deep purpose” firms. This allows for rich insights into the processes and mechanisms underlying purpose-driven firms.

  • The author employs “theoretical sampling” - selecting a small number of exemplary cases to study deeply. This allows for inductive theory building about deep purpose firms, which are rare and extreme examples.

  • Some researchers prefer large sample quantitative studies to avoid confirmation bias. The author combines insights from these where possible, but the primary insights derive from in-depth field research.

  • Studying extreme, unusual cases can reveal insights that apply more broadly. The deep dives into a small number of exemplars are designed to build new theories about deep purpose firms.

  • The qualitative field research approach is appropriate given the goal of developing new theories about the underlying mechanisms in purpose-driven firms, where large sample data is not yet available.

In summary, the author uses rigorous qualitative methods focused on a theoretically sampled set of exemplary deep purpose firms to develop inductive theories about this important but rare organizational form.

Here is a summary of the key points from the excerpt:

  • The research was conducted as an inductive analysis to uncover important concepts related to becoming a purpose-driven organization, without beginning with a predetermined theory or hypothesis. This aligns with grounded theory approaches.

  • The goal was to identify patterns, processes, and relationships connected to the phenomenon of interest through the interview data, iterating between the data and existing theory. This follows established qualitative field research traditions.

  • Theoretical, purposeful sampling was used rather than statistical sampling. Cases were selected based on a common track record of success to allow comparison of similar processes underlying that success. This is viewed as important in exploratory qualitative research.

  • Key constructs and mechanisms were uncovered through an iterative process of moving between the data and existing theory. The aim was to develop the constructs and relationships described in the book inductively from the data.

In summary, the research took an exploratory, inductive and iterative approach using qualitative data and purposeful sampling to develop concepts grounded in the data related to purpose-driven organizations. It followed established principles of grounded theory and qualitative field research.

Thank you for the summary. Here are the key points I gathered:

  • Purpose is becoming increasingly important for companies to guide strategy and decision-making. It goes beyond mission/vision statements to serve as an organizing principle.

  • Purpose can act as a lever to boost financial performance in four main ways: directional (guiding choices), motivational, relational (building trust), and reputational.

  • Companies need to anchor purpose in their historical roots and values to make it authentic. Strategies for this include nostalgia/postalgia tension and critical dialogue.

  • Purpose must translate through stakeholder tradeoff navigation, avoiding overemphasis on compromise or win-win solutions. Practical idealism is key.

  • Leaders can communicate purpose through storytelling, focusing on moral community and a “Self-Us-Now” framework.

  • Common purpose derailers include over-reliance on leaders, metrics, profit-over-purpose, and misalignment. Sustaining purpose requires embedding it across governance, culture, metrics, etc.

Does this accurately capture the key points? Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand the summary.

  • The book Deep Purpose is by Ranjay Gulati, a professor at Harvard Business School.

  • The foreword is written by Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock.

  • The book argues that purpose-driven companies perform better financially and are better able to attract talent.

  • It provides a guide for leaders on how to cultivate a strong sense of purpose within their organizations.

  • The book explains why purpose matters more than ever for businesses today.

  • It draws on examples from companies like Unilever, Adidas, Best Buy, and others.

  • Main ideas include connecting purpose to strategy, embedding purpose into culture and values, and linking purpose to employees’ individual roles.

  • Overall the book makes the case that purpose can drive high performance while also benefiting society.

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About Matheus Puppe