The 80s was the era where greed was good, and money never slept – well at least according to Gordon Gekko aka Michael Douglas in Wall Street.

It was also a time when many businesses today (large and small) were founded, cemented their management style and future leadership direction. However, it was not a time where businesses looked to a higher purpose in the benefit of furthering fundamental human values.

Spring forward to 2019 and the global business community is now looking to the next management philosophy to create sustainable wealth both financially and personally. This uprise in a more philosophical approach to business comes as more and more education is brought to light around the importance of purpose and fundamental human values driving business success.

So, what do you need to know about how your business can hone in on its purpose to drive growth and brand inspired customer engagement?

Understanding why your business exists outside of financial gain is the first step to clarifying your purpose. It is what makes you and your team get up in the morning and be truly excited to come to work each day.

However, to make your purpose/reason for being/core belief genuinely unique and impactful, it needs to be created with the idea of furthering and improving a fundamental human value.

Fundamental human values (or brand ideals) are timeless truths about human behaviour that speak to the core of our humanity and exist to significantly improve people’s lives and the world around us aka working for the greater good (but you don’t need to be a superhero just a super business leader).

According to Jim Stengel in his book Grow, he states that there are five fundamental human values: Eliciting Joy, Enabling Connection, Inspiring Exploration, Evoking Pride and Impacting Society.

In reading these five fundamental values, which one rings true to you and your business? Which one do you think your company is in active pursuit of advancing for the benefit of others.

Now, think about your business’ purpose statement and does it communicate and align with the fundamental value that rings true to you. If it does, well done you’re on the path of real purpose. If it doesn’t then there is brand work that you and your senior leadership team need to do to make sure it does, for the benefit of your business growth and stakeholder engagement.

So how does purpose and working for the benefit of fundamental human values equal business success?

To put it simply, it enables leaders to drive results by being clear and compelling about why and how things need to be done. It allows the work you do to stand for something and ultimately enables your business to hit higher targets and get in front (and stay) of your competition.

In our current business economy, we are experiencing an excess of supply vs. insufficient demand in every sector. It is no longer good enough to connect customers with your product or service on a functional use/output basis.  You need to utilize your purpose and brand ideal to connect with both your customer’s and employee’s lives both rationally and emotionally.

Fundamental human values or brand ideals also allow you to create authenticity around your business and enable your team to keep innovating through good and bad economic times – because everyone is working to a higher purpose.

A clear purpose developed through the lens of a fundamental human value provides the wider business with greater:

  • clarity on the reason why you do the things you do
  • consistency – creating a unified and collectively understood approach to how you do what you do
  • commitment – through greater clarity and consistency you are able to create, and collective approach which creates ultimately creates team unity and gives customers a reason to believe in what you do
  • creativity – with greater understanding and a strong foundation in why you exist, employees are able to be more innovative to achieve business goals that will ultimately evolve your fundamental human value

However, if you are not ambitious enough with your purpose and brand ideal, you will not be able to make a difference to your bottom line. To truly drive results, you need to commit to making a significant positive difference in the world with tangible impact for people’s lives. You need to make sure that you and your business authentically connect to your purpose and ideal to be able to brand your business from the inside out. Your employees, suppliers, board member, etc. are all a crucial part of your success, and all need to buy-in to your business purpose before trying to engage customers.

Here are a few examples of purpose

  • Google exists to immediately satisfy every curiosity
  • IBM to help build a smarter planet
  • Moet and Chandon is to transform occasions into celebrations
  • Diesel’s to inspire imagination and endless possibilities in style

Final key takeaways:

  • Express your purpose explicitly
  • Be sure your purpose aligns with one of the five fields of fundamental human values
  • Create purpose accountability in your business to ensure your leadership team is providing clarity and consistency to allow your wider business to be committed and creative
  • Regularly assess your purpose in line with your business strategy and results