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Purpose as a Dual Function in Business

My definition of a Strategy states, that it is based on “Purpose”, to reach a “Desired Outcome”. There is plenty of evidence to indicate that firms with a Purpose outperform other firms, and this has many advocates including Simon Sinek, with his ‘Start with Why’* TedX Talk.

But Purpose, in my book, also gets translated into part of an internal analysis tool, to identify limiting internal factors, that would impede a successful strategy – (the MORTARS Tool). The R in MORTARS stands for Raison d'être: the Reason for Being or the Purpose. And the T stands for Team Esprit de Corp or defined by Cambridge Dictionary: “the proud and comfortable feeling that you are a member of a group whose purpose you believe in.” **

While MORTARS is a Strategy tool, it does not convey that Purpose has another link: A Cultural element.

The culture of an organisation can grow with some simple steps. Culture can be increased, if the collective group has a unifying purpose, which serves to create a sense of belonging. Belonging is a significant element of a good culture. Throw in a sense of safety too, and the culture will improve – Full Stop. This does not come however without collectively held Emotional Intelligence.

There are other aspects, such as eliminating status in an organisation, which are related to safety.

If staff are aware of great degrees of status in an organisation, then they are likely to have a concern about their own status, and their behaviour will likely be influenced by protecting that status. If status is not a concern, their behaviour will be more driven by the belonging aspect of Purpose and Raison d'être. I employed this when running a shipyard with the mantra “Do you want to talk to the man in charge or do you want to talk to the people running the place”. This lowered status in the business. I also employed this by not driving an almost obligatory, company supplied vehicle and by not using a “CEO only Parking” spot.

A collectively held level of Emotional Intelligence, that allows the leadership of an organisation to assess itself objectively, should be all that is needed to improve the culture, which in turn allows for the more effective execution of strategy and the quicker attainment of Desired Outcomes.

Self-awareness is one of the four components of Emotional Intelligence that should lead to an objective self-assessment of the culture. The second aspect of Emotional Intelligence is Self-Management which should respond to the awareness and self-assessment.

A properly created strategy that uses a degree of collectively held or Corporate held Emotional Intelligence should dictate that a firm would give every employee a voice, eliminate status, create belonging and provide safety to achieve impressive results.

Time to take down the CEO Only Parking sign and put up a sign that tells all staff that they are important.

*Simon Sinek, “Start With Why,” Portfolio Penguin, 2009. The Simon Sinek Video can easily be found with a search for the following: Simon Sinek Start With Why TEDx.


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