Vision, Mission, Purpose
Purpose is becoming increasingly a "management jargon" and, for many, not yet clear what it really means, and how does it fit in the "traditional" Vision and Mission statements. The way I see it:
Vision refers to where we want to go
Mission is about what we do
Purpose is about why we do it
So why is "Purpose" now so trendy? There is a lot of "literature" these days about it (it gained new dimension with Larry Finks, Black Rock letters on “Sense of Purpose” and “Purpose vs Profit”), but in my humble view it boils down to two key aspects (cause & effect):
a) Cause - the need for companies to act on a Responsible/Sustainable way is no longer up for debate ("be bold on purpose or die" as Danone's CEO, Emmnuel Faber, said last week):
- the link to bottom line is becoming more obvious;
- several surveys prove the point of "more sustainable customers";
- purposeful companies are becoming a key source of talent attraction (in a world where Millennial and Generation Z represent 64% of population);
- stakeholders (not only shareholders) interests are becoming the "issue to deal with"
b) Effect - if this is so, the route to go further than the two concepts highly associated with shareholders (Vision and Mission), is asking "why do we as a Company exist?". This simple question immediately leads to considering not only shareholders but the interests of the whole group of stakeholders (employees, customers, environment, suppliers, local communities, you name it). The "why" question needs to have an answer that makes sense to, at least, the key stakeholders.
The "why" route, both in corporate and personal spheres, is a very "intense" question, typically leading to in depth and inspiring discussions, much more long-term oriented. And, furthermore, will lead to the creation of "emotional bonds", in my view the right place place to be when the objective is long lasting relationships (be it with your employees, customers, investors...).