SB Copenhagen 2016 #2: What does having a “higher purpose” actually mean?
For anyone who isn't quite sure what we mean when we talk about higher purpose.
So, What does Higher Purpose (HP) mean? It is actually a very simple concept, but it is often difficult to explain.
Note: If you feel resistance in yourself while reading this, take a moment to ask your self why? What is the source of that resistance? Is it valid or not? Only then decide whether or not to keep reading. You may be very happy you did.
Higher Purpose, at heart, is about connecting people. Connecting people is a reward in and of itself, but the connector is often rewarded greatly.
Definition: At its most basic having a Higher Purpose, as I currently understand it, means that beyond sales and profit (or the power those might gain a person) a brand or product has an ideal at heart and seeks to do one or more of the following in authentic and verifiable ways:
- Improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come, in ways that are visible and relevant to them.
- Improve the health and happiness of people.
- Give something back to society, both for those who buy and support the brand, as well as for those who do not.
- Foster pride in community and local culture.
- Reverse isolation and provide ways for people to connect with each other. This may be people of different races, cultures, ages, or just people who live in the same neighborhood or city.
- Protect wildlife and the environment by creating innovative and alternative products, packaging, and programs, that reducing waste.
- Encourage people to perceive those around them as teammates instead of being irrelevant or competitors.
- Enable more people to participate in democracy and in the world economy.
- Enable people with chronic diseases or disabilities to live their lives as unrestricted as possible.
- Enable and encourage people to pursue their own higher purpose.
- Help parents and teachers raise inspired, creative, and responsible children.
- Foster innovation that may further any of the above causes.
In other posts I will explore the the many beneficial effects of having a purpose driven company can have.
Suggested reading: The Responsible Company, What we've Learned from Patagonia's First 40 Years, by Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley.