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How to Become More Purpose-Driven as an Organisation

We’re living in unprecedented times. A global pandemic has forced change upon every business.

Many companies are using this time to re-evaluate how they work. Leadership teams are having to think quickly and radically about how their business is structured.

Over the last five years we have been on the cusp of a large shift in how businesses operate. Different generations working together has forced a rise in consciousness. The current situation is saddening, but has caused another shift to happen.

In the medium and long term, we can expect to see a deep shift in how people approach their home, work and life balance. We will think differently about what we do for a living.

Organizations too will have to adapt. Leadership teams will have to connect with their ‘real’ purpose and share this with the workforce in a meaningful way. I have previously written about purpose driven culture [link] at a high level. People asked me afterwards how I’d go about actually implementing this philosophy. How can you build purpose consciousness?

Introduction to MAHA Global


So, to provide more context on how to create a purpose-driven company, I sat down with my friend Haider Nazar, an expert in helping companies become more purpose-driven. He explained a series of steps he uses to help businesses implement purpose.

Featured at Davos, within the UN Global Compact and several other media publications, Haider is now leveraging his experience to help companies at various stages of their Impact Journey into becoming “Purpose-Driven.” His company, MAHA Global, helps companies that are often in positions to lead, but often don’t because they lack stakeholder performance practices and tools. MAHA’s Vision is to create a world where all companies integrate Purpose as a core strategic pillar, with employee purpose at the heart of the movement.

Working with MAHA, companies will have the opportunity to baseline the Purpose of their organisation, get access to academic experts, data scientists, gain new actionable insights and integrate new management techniques within the flow of their work.

If you’re at a crossroads, struggling to connect individual managers and teams with a clear vision, here is Haider’s advice on how to get started.

How to engender purpose in your business


He believes there are three ‘legs’ to this stool:

1. Clear leadership
2. Enabling mid managers
3. Creating individual meaning for the entire workforce

Let’s look in a little more detail.

Step #1 — Clear leadership


What does your organisation stand for beyond profit maximization?

Purpose begins at the leadership level. Your team must have a clear vision and definition of purpose. This could be around a number of issues:

  • Environmental concerns
  • Improving social issues
  • Addressing industry inequalities
  • Balancing your stakeholder equities

Your organisation must stand for something and be extremely clear on what that is. The executive team needs to be able to spell that goal out in measurable terms.

Whatever you commit to, make it abundantly clear.

Roll out your goals as a set of “Non Financial” or “Purpose” performance metrics. Explain what you’re going to do, and what you’ve already done to meet those goals.

Step #2 — Enable mid managers


For an organisation to be able to move forward, you must enable mid management.

Middle managers make day-to-day decisions and ensure progress happens. How can you enable these individuals to act?

Make sure that the vision is communicated clearly. What are the exact non financial performance metrics you’re expecting managers to meet?

Case study: Dyson

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Dyson recently announced it would pivot its operations to focus on its ‘CoVent’ ventilator production.

This wholescale shift started with leadership but was powered by enabling and connecting mid managers to the new initiative. Dyson managers needed clarity of vision, budget and proper incentives to execute.

Enabling middle managers will drive authenticity throughout the business. And authenticity is absolutely essential to our third component.

Step #3 — Individual meaning throughout the workforce


Driving meaning in your workforce is the final step to a purpose-led organisation. You must clearly connect your corporate purpose with the entire team.

How can you achieve this?

Allow your workforce to get the highest possible level of meaning in their work. Beyond money, what does their work mean to the grander scheme?

How does their work connect with the community? This can be written into KPIs, discussed in 1–2–1s and by helping team members see self actualisation at work.

Companies that connect the three ‘legs’ of the stool — leadership, mid manager enablement and individual meaning are often high performers. 79% of business leaders surveyed by PwC said that an organization’s purpose was central to business success, supporting the connection between purpose and performance.
Leadership