Purpose Statements that Inspire and Lead to Exponential Growth

Monte Wyatt & Brad Sugars, Oct 01, 2019

A purpose statement has to become something more than meaningless words. A company has to live its purpose with appropriate actions.

For example, the purpose statement for Southwest Airlines is, "To connect People to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel." This has kept Southwest from charging customers for checked bags. The company would reap immediate profits by doing so, but that would betray its purpose. Southwest differentiates itself and demonstrates its commitment to that purpose in its national advertising campaign, Bags Fly Free.

Here are some examples of purpose statements:

  • Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business. — ING
  • Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive. — Kellogg
  • To help people manage risk and recover from the hardship of unexpected loss. — IAG
  • GE people worldwide are dedicated to turning imaginative ideas into leading products and services that help solve some of the world's toughest problems. — GE
  • Delivering Happiness. — Zappos
  • Google Inc. was founded to make it easier to find high-quality information on the web. — Google
  • Wikipedia is a collaborative project to produce a free and complete encyclopedia in every language. — Wikipedia
  • With great courage, integrity, and love—we embrace our responsibility to co-create a world where each of us, our communities, and our planet can flourish. All the while, celebrating the sheer love and joy of food. — Whole Foods Market
  • Improving Lives — TOMS

You can see that these purpose statements are more than lofty ideals: they lead to action. That is the mark of an effective purpose statement: it inspires, unifies, and drives collective action to achieve goals.

Another mark of these purpose statements is that they are accessible, easily understood and direct.

Here are steps to creating a purpose statement:

  • Determine your company's purpose. You have to know what it is ad why it is that you do.
  • Make sure the statement leads to continual growth – it's not a one and done. The purpose statement is a continuing inspiration for change.
  • Be both practical and emotional. Appeal to the heart and the head.
  • Use plain language. It should be easy for everyone to understand without any jargon.
  • Be direct, so that the purpose statement can lead to action. Your purpose statement will be implemented and brought to life by your employees, so keep that in mind as you craft it.

To recap, a purpose statement has to be something more than meaningless words – it should be actionable and real-world. A company has to live its purpose with appropriate actions.

We'd love to hear from you. What purpose statements do you find practicable and inspirational? Thank you for sharing.