Chapter 14How to Keep Purpose from Being Hijacked

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

—Warren Bennis

“This is perfect for our culture program,” says the HR manager.

“We're going to use this as our new marketing campaign,” adds the CMO.

“I can't wait for our social outreach team to use this in our philanthropy,” says the Community Relations Manager.

These enthusiastic and well-intended comments can potentially be the death knell for your company's purpose. We've talked about what purpose is, and now it's time for us to talk about what it's not. Noble Purpose is not:

  • A tagline
  • A value proposition
  • Servant leadership
  • Customer-centricity
  • Philanthropy
  • A culture-building program
  • A training initiative

These are natural outcomes of embracing a Noble Purpose philosophy and strategy, but there are distinct differences. A Noble Purpose strategy will likely include all of the concepts in the list, but if you allow it to be categorized as any one of these things, you run the risk of it becoming siloed and marginalized.

Taglines Come and Go

The very nature of a great marketing campaign is that it's new and fresh. Even the most successful campaigns rarely last more than a year or two. Purpose, on the other hand, is constant. A good NSP is inspirational and aspirational; there's also a bit of the plodder element present.

Since I originally wrote Selling with Noble Purpose in 2012, more people are talking about purpose. There have been a number of books on the subject, ...

Get Leading with Noble Purpose now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.