Our recent Planning for Growth research revealed high-growth businesses are more likely to view purpose as an accelerator to growth. If your business is aiming for rapid growth, it is worth considering the value of being purpose-led.
A group of CEOs and business leaders met recently at our Finsbury Square event to discuss what role purpose, vision and culture play in creating an environment for businesses to grow and succeed.
Insight was discussed and debated by the panel, which featured Will-Butler Adams, CEO of Brompton Bicycle; Dale Parmenter, CEO of DRP Group; and Karen Brice, our director of leadership and culture. Here are their top tips on harnessing purpose, vision and culture for growth.
1. Ask ‘why are we here?’
It is easy to focus on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ when describing what your business is trying to achieve. The more difficult task is articulating the essence of your business. Purpose is not to make a profit – profit fuels the purpose as a necessary factor.
The ‘why’ is the purpose, or the reason for your business existing. You should be able to articulate this in a meaningful way to guide the culture and behaviour of every employee. If your purpose is too intangible, it won’t translate into practical actions for each of your teams.
2. Embrace a growth mind-set
Looking to others for inspiration can be valuable in achieving your ambitions. Analyse high-growth businesses – what are they doing differently? Our research provides some points to consider.
Interviews with Growth Generators (businesses achieving 20%+ turnover growth last year and that have experienced consistent growth for the last three years), showed that they have four characteristics which set them apart from others – one of which is being purpose-driven.
In their last stage of growth, 43% of Growth Generators invested in company vision, culture and purpose. They believe this successfully contributed to growth as a result. And 40% view purpose as an investment priority (compared with 35% of all respondents). Embrace a growth mind-set and think of purpose as being a valuable investment for future growth.
3. CEOs should set the culture
Leaders set the culture of the business. But it has to be constantly monitored. So spend time with your teams and ask for as much feedback as possible.
It can be a challenge to maintain your culture, and purpose, as you grow. When your business is smaller, your purpose and essence are innate to the business and are implicitly understood by your team.
So, as you grow, ensure you clearly articulate both these things as soon as possible to the whole business. Build a culture that promotes growth.
4. Purpose makes you stand out
A meaningful business purpose gives people a reason to care about your company. People want to contribute, feel valued and make an impact. As business leaders, make sure you are giving staff that opportunity. When your employees connect with your business purpose, they will be taking the extra step to make an exceptional impact on the customer.
It is all about the customer. And you can’t have happy customers if your staff don’t care about the business.
Customers care about your purpose too. As choice increases, consumers are becoming more demanding and discerning in their buying habits. A company’s purpose and values are becoming more important in customer buying decisions. Some brands are effectively using their ‘why’ to differentiate themselves in the market.
5. You can’t fake authenticity
Always ask ‘is this the right thing for our business to do?’. Purpose takes energy, tenacity and sustainable investment, and will be ineffective if it is insincere. But this value and focus placed on considering why your business exists helps put you in a growth mind-set and sets you up to become a Growth Generator.
If you would like to talk to our Growth 365 team about growing your business, please get in touch.