A movement towards putting purpose first is gaining momentum within the global corporate sector, and companies at the helm of the change are proving its merit.
According to Churchill co-founding director Todd Mairs, research and thought leadership around the power of purpose has accumulated at a steady rate across the past five to 10 years, calling for businesses to look beyond the bottom line.
“Getting your purpose right is the very beginning of creating a successful enterprise; it’s the foundation stone,” Mr Mairs said.
“With purpose comes a focus on impact; what impact are we having on our clients and their industry?
“No one wants their work to sit on the shelf and gather dust.
“When a company’s purpose is clearly defined and communicated, the whole organisation is able to put that into practice and staff understand their actions and work have meaning,” he said.
Mr Mairs said notable author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek had given prominence to this ideology through his book and TED Talk, Start with Why.
According to Mr Sinek, inspiring leaders and organisations such as Apple, thought, acted and communicated from the inside out, from ‘why’ to ‘what’.
Every company knew what they did, some knew how they did it, but very few organisations knew why they did it, Mr Sinek said.
Determining why your organisation does what it does is fundamental to success, though just one piece of the puzzle for achieving a thriving workplace.
A study published by the SSRN Electronic Journal and shared by Harvard Business Review found that high purpose firms came in two forms: firms characterised by high camaraderie between workings and firms characterised by high clarity from management.
Ultimately, the study suggested purpose did have an impact on the success of an organisation, but only the firms which communicated its purpose with a high level of clarity and authenticity from the top down exhibited superior stock market performance.
The study found middle managers were key and needed to be bought into the purpose of the company, with a clear view of where the organisation was going and how it was getting there.
Building better futures for WA
After 18 years of operations, Churchill have recognised the need for a clearly defined purpose in the workplace.
In line with its recent rebrand and restructure, Mr Mairs said Churchill had arrived at a purpose that captured ‘why’ they did what they did.
“Our purpose statement is, ‘We are building a more vibrant and prosperous WA.’
“Through this we play a key role in creating a successful Western Australia,” Mr Mairs said.
“We have a passionate focus on seeing a better future for Western Australia.
“We love WA, we choose to live here, and we want to create a future for our kids with future jobs that they would love, rather than feeling the need to head abroad for fulfilling jobs.
“The passion for us is for the vibrancy of WA, its colour, its culture, its not-for-profits,” he said.
Mr Mairs said this sense of purpose was communicated throughout the organisation using meaningful language as well as action.
“Part of this means we’re continuing our commitment to helping not-for-profits and cultural institutions,” he said.
Churchill have historically worked on a pro-bono basis with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), within the aged-care industry, and currently are supporting Women and Infants Research Foundation.
As part of the recent rebrand, Churchill, formerly Churchill Consulting, have dropped Consulting from its brandmark and adopted the ethos ‘Better the Future”, to recognise its newly defined strategy-to-solution approach and commitment to purpose.
“We’re in a privileged position of helping some of Western Australia’s leading organisations get better at what they do and outperform their competitors,” Mr Mairs said.
“We help businesses improve their performance and we do that by helping them clarify their strategy, by improving their structure, and by determining a way for them to better manage their people or information systems,” he said.
Mr Mairs said Churchill’s recent restructure put a renewed emphasis on ensuring it saw the advice it gave to its clients through to the end until a lasting solution was obtained.
“The key is, we’re not just here thinking about a better future, but we’re motivated to improve the future of Western Australia through the work we do with our clients,” he said.
“Everyone who joins us has that mentality and will consider how we can improve the world in which we live and the organisations that make up that world.”
For more information on how Churchill can assist with your company strategy and purpose, visit www.churchill.com.au.