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Are you sure, you talk about #purpose?

Finally understand the distinction between #mission, #vision and #purpose.

#German #corporations are slowly waking up when it comes to discussing the need for corporate purpose as part of their #business #priorities. That is no surprise – we Germans are rarely ever daring frontrunners on most subjects or trends.

Years back, several studies (e.g. have proven the economic value add and health benefits arising when employees experience #meaning at work (e.g. quantifiable increase in #productivity, #sales or #innovation, decrease in burn-out, turnover and sick leave – just to name a few).

With a few exceptions, those convincing KPIs have not yet made it to the ears and hearts of our #DAX30 leadership teams. Lately, also the German #Handelsblatt has published a few sobering articles and comments on the matter. No surprise: #Adidas is one of the few companies to actually articulate a thought through purpose: „Through sport, we have the power to change lives“. To German ears, this might sound slightly pathetic. Yet, it provides a sound basis for e.g. global employee engagement initiatives, brand and marketing communication or social responsibility activities.

Other DAX30 companies have put forward claims such as „science for a better life“ (#Bayer), „Immer bessere Medizin für immer mehr Menschen“ (#Fresenius), „to make the world a brighter place“ (#Covestro) or „Wir geben Menschen ein Zuhause“ (#Vonovia) and labeled them purpose.

Two things are true: first, these claims compose honorable tag-lines or maybe some sort of mission statement. Second, they are quite generic. Hence, these statements fall short to answer the need for self-actualization and meaning of #multi-generations (not only #millennials!) at the workplace.

Have those four exemplary companies actually thought this through or did they just want to tick a box?

Lets start here: What is the difference between a vision, mission and purpose anyway?

A mission is what your company does and does well (WHAT). A vision is where it is headed (WHERE TO) and purpose describes why it exists (WHY).

Why do I need a purpose when I already have a mission and vision statement?

Because purpose is your chance to provide a reason to believe, a reason to work for, to get up every day, to fight for ... to your employees, stakeholders and communities. It is the unique #reason for being and for the positive #impact you can make in the life of others. As you can tell, you really want to get this statement right! Crisp, convincing, authentic and unique.

A purpose or why statement consists of two elements: #contribution and #impact. If you don’t know what that means: Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why is the source to commence and indulge. And if you need support to identify your contribution and impact, call me. I can help.


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