Our latest Coffee & Collaboration was an open discussion of Higher Purpose. Throughout the year we will take a closer look at each of the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership, and Conscious Culture. January’s meeting tackled the tenet of Higher Purpose, which is the reason your company exists, beyond making money for yourself and your shareholders.
C3MD President Liz Richardson set the stage by defining Higher Purpose and sharing this video of some companies who have really embraced their higher purpose, articulating it so all employees, customers, investors, and others really know what motivates that organization, as well as how each action taken is in line with that purpose. Having a well-thought-out and carefully defined purpose can clarify decision-making and strategy, and inform how an organization chooses to interact with the world.
Many companies have a stated mission and vision. What is different about higher purpose? One framework we discussed is:
- Purpose = Why
- Vision = What
- Mission = How
To dig a little deeper into each of our own higher purposes, we contemplated the following series of questions:
- Why do we exist?
- Why do we need to exist?
- What is the contribution we want to make?
- Why is the world better because we are here? (or will be better)
- Who would miss us if we disappeared?
Many of the participants shared their own higher purpose.
- Beth Harbinson has a non-profit (Sobar) that is devoted to making non-drinkers feel more included in festive situations. Sobar’s higher purpose is to “shift the culture” and “reduce the shame and stigma of addiction and alcoholism.”
- Danielle Marshall, whose consulting work is centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion for leaders, wants to move past any “check the box” aspects of racial equity in the workplace and has the higher purpose of creating “successful outcomes for individuals.”
- Kevin Howard is a CPA and financial advisor who dispenses tax and financial advice and sees his higher purpose as “reducing fear and demystifying finances.”
It was inspiring to think about ways the purpose of our respective businesses could bring meaning beyond profit and beyond ourselves. Having a higher purpose can clarify actions and decision-making. If you have not explicitly stated a higher purpose, consider how you could message your intent to your community and the wider world.
— Meeting recap provided by Board Member Tanya Rapacz
Join us for our next virtual Coffee & Collaboration in March, where we’ll focus on Stakeholder Orientation. Register here.