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11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era by Nilofer Merchant

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Chapter 9: Social Purpose

There are the things that we do.

There are the things that we care about.

And then there is the story we tell about it.

When those things are in full alignment for individuals, we say they have integrity. When we see them aligned in organizations, we honor their “brand” and “vision.”[1] There is power in purpose, vision, and brand. On this theory, everyone can agree. An organization’s purpose allows people to connect emotionally, it creates relevance in the marketplace, and it provides the direction for what to do next.

Purpose is arguably what distinguishes successful businesses with exponential impact from the rest. Too many 800-pound gorilllas implicitly defaulted to “make a buck” as the thing they cared most about ...

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