Define your company’s purpose
Identifying your company’s long term priorities. Uniting employees and stakeholders behind one inspiring idea. Increasing efficiency and productivity.
In a more volatile world where even the world’s largest companies fail an ever-faster rate of failure, longevity becomes a key organizational virtue.
Some of the world’s oldest and most resilient companies actually turn out to have a strong purpose, broadly shared and deeply anchored in the organization. This purpose serves as the ‘true north’ for the strategy, leading to clearer and faster strategic trade-offs and decision making. Companies with a strong purpose often also enjoy the privilege of a loyal and highly engaged workforce. Employees are inspired by companies with a compelling purpose, and hence more committed and productive.
Project example: Purpose project for a leading international IB school.
Munich International School (MIS) is a non-for-profit, leading IB school with a reputation for constant innovation in approaches to learning.
Context and challenges:
Munich International School (MIS) had defined an ambitious strategic plan outlining the school’s priorities for the coming years in the areas of learning approaches, digital and media competencies, societal engagement and leadership. From this plan, the Board had also derived the key investment needs the school requires.
However, the school’s leadership lacked a clear definition of its purpose, the ‘why’ of the organization, which was aligned with its strategic plan.
Working on MIS’ purpose was a collaborative effort conducted together with the school’s headmaster, school leadership, Board, parents, teachers and pupils. After defining the purpose, we translated it into a short, poignant video. Sharing this video broadly with key stakeholders – ministries, parents, donors and teachers – has helped raise awareness for the school’s aspirations and goals. As a result, MIS is able to realize and accelerate the implementation of its strategic plans, having raised additional financial and personnel resources. MIS leverages its new purpose film to showcase the school’s attractiveness with new teacher recruits as well as parents and alumni. It has become a key medium of the school’s capital campaign.
A credible purpose connects a company’s origins to its future aspirations and strategic goals. Therefore, we based our work on the documents compiled for the school’s 50th anniversary. We drafted a first version of the purpose collecting inputs and inspiration from 24 interviews, conducted over a period of 3 months with all relevant stakeholders (parents, teachers, pupils, alumni, Board members). We then refined this first draft in about a dozen iterations with the headmaster and the school’s management team.
In a mood workshop, we discussed the right tonality and emotion which the purpose film is supposed convey. In parallel, we developed a storyboard together with a professional film maker, started shooting and finalized the text. The finalized film is 2:30 min.and leveraged broadly in the schools recruiting, marketing, policy making and fundraising activities.