Three Reasons Purpose is a Game Changer

Three Reasons Purpose is a Game Changer

It has been a great start to the month as I worked with over a thousand health care workers on finding more purpose in work while advising a new consulting client, one of the largest educational companies in the world, on how to shift their culture towards purpose.

As I speak and advise clients on Leading for Purpose, I am often asked why purpose is a game changer for companies and for individuals. In my newest book The Purpose Revolution, I discuss this in detail. But today I want to share three reasons why purpose is a game changer.

First, in an age of commoditization where manufactured products are virtually indistinguishable from one brand to another, “belief driven” consumers are rewarding brands they believe in. According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand Study, most consumers are checking their gut as much as their wallets when making a buying decision. The research found 64% of consumers around the world are “belief-driven” buyers, including 59% in the U.S. The U.S. percentage is up 12 points from last year. In short, belief-driven buyers can be defined as people who believe brands should take a stand on important issues. About one-third of consumers regularly reward companies they believe in with their business or punish those they don’t believe in. On average, companies like Dove and Ben & Jerry’s that have a purpose connection with their customers are growing 30% faster.

Second, purpose transforms our own work and gives us energy. Recently as I spoke to groups about purpose, I said that “the cure for exhaustion is not necessarily rest, often it is wholeheartedness.” Many of the people I meet in business today are exhausted. But that exhaustion does not simply come from overwork. Exhaustion often comes from the feeling that our work is just about money or task, rather than a deeper calling. In my sessions, I asked participants to name their purpose and share it with another person. In each case, participants talked about how their energy changed as they reconnected to their purpose. Most of us know what our purpose is, but when we name it and claim it, and then begin to ask how we can live it more fully in our work, a profound shift occurs. On every metric, people who see their job as a purpose outperform those who don’t.

The final reason why purpose is a game changer is that when we focus on our purpose, it leads us to great new business opportunities. When we focus on the true needs of others in society, we discover new business opportunities. Think of how Airbnb started when the two founders had a hard time finding a reasonably priced place to stay while traveling. They discovered an important need that later because one of the world’s most successful brands. When we start asking about how we can solve the real problems people face, we dig into our purpose and amazing things happen. Tinder, the dating app, happened because there was a need for a faster and easier way to meet people. It may have started out as a hookup app, but now is a place where people can find their soul mates…and the company makes money though the creation of new possibilities.

These three reasons amplify why you should take purpose seriously. In doing so, you will live longer and healthier, and your curiosity about the needs of people and society might just be your next great business idea.


Dr. John Izzo has spoken to over one million people, advised over 500 companies, authored nine best-selling books, and helped some of the world's most admired companies. He has been a pioneer in creating successful businesses and emerging work trends for over twenty-five years.

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