Change Management Strategy: How to Maintain a Purpose-Based Organization

By Emerson Client Director, Tony Papirio

Man with glasses pointing to city in the distance

What is your purpose? If your organization disappeared tomorrow, what would customers miss?
If your organization’s purpose is not fulfilled, you might as well be gone. Customer relationships are threatened. Living a diminished version of yourself puts you at risk in the market place and emboldens the competition.

Purpose is different from values, Values are behaviors that orient the organization to deliver the purpose. They are the “how.” Purpose is the “why.” Values look inward, Purpose looks outward.

Living your purpose requires attention. It shouldn’t be a line on a poster or a PowerPoint slide. It is an intentional set of activities by leadership, management and employees. The organization’s founders know this better than anyone – they certainly knew why they created the company. But, as the organization grows and scales, it’s hard to maintain attention on the activities that make purpose real.

Don’t make that mistake. Here are a few ways to activate and maintain a purpose-driven organization.

  1. Harmonize it. Make sure your purpose and values agree and reinforce each other.
  2. Lead it. Leaders should live the purpose. They should use it to filter decisions and messages to the company.
  3. Orchestrate it. Hold purpose-driven events; create reinforcing rituals and symbols.
  4. Model it. Identify key behaviors for executives and managers to demonstrate purpose. Tap high-potential champions who can cascade purpose-based activities through the organization.
  5. Align it. Make sure organization design, performance management, incentives and recognition support purpose-driven activities.

Delivering a consistent purpose will drive your performance in the marketplace.

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