Article by Janet Feldman, Managing Principal for Korn Ferry, for the Expert Contributors’ Blog at StrategyDriven.com.
No matter which way you turn, the focus on ‘purpose’ is everywhere. Whether it’s Mark Zuckerberg joining Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in a Giving Pledge, the six biggest global communications firms putting differences aside in a U.N. Common Ground Initiative pledging to eliminate poverty worldwide, to the rise of socially conscious companies embedding sustainability in all processes, purpose has broken the sound barrier among the business and popular media, forward-thinking magazines and business school curricula.
However, to mistakenly think purpose is something pursued only by socially conscious individuals and organizations or ‘in addition to our day job’ is to miss the point entirely. Purpose is that simple, yet powerful, human impulse to improve the lives of others or make a difference in the world. Purpose catalyzes behaviors from simple acts of service to a focus on professional excellence. It drives large efforts from spearheading a movement to bringing a game-changing product or technology to market. It animates us as people and fuels organizational innovation, value creation, and growth. Whether or not they understand the forces driving it, the smartest organizations are putting purpose at the top of their agendas—and those that ignore it, do so at their peril.
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