Ranjay Gulati: Why Purpose Is The Heart And Soul Of High Performance Teams

Few business topics arouse more skepticism than the notion of corporate purpose – & for good reason. Too many companies have deployed purpose as a promotional vehicle to make themselves feel virtuous & look good to the outside world. The insincerity behind efforts like these are, of course, easily spotted by both outsiders & insiders (employees most importantly) leading them to feeling jaded – & to losing trust in the management team that attempted the deception.

Despite all the harm that past efforts at establishing organizational purpose have caused, Harvard Business School professor, Ranjay Gulati, believes the time has come for companies to try again – this time with a sincere commitment. He argues that the pursuit of profits without purpose is no longer a sustainable business model. And in his new bestseller, “Deep Purpose,” he says “the road to high performance, for both individuals and companies, depends on deepening our connection to enduring & essential human values. He adds, “purpose isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’ in the business world anymore. It’s a ‘must-have.’

As Gulati argues, a deeper engagement with purpose holds the key not merely to the well-being of individual companies but also to humanity’s future. With capitalism under siege & relatively low levels of trust in business, purpose can serve as a radically new operating system for the enterprise, enhancing performance while also delivering meaningful benefits to society. It’s the kind of inspired thinking that businesses—& the rest of us—urgently need.

Tapping into extensive research, Ranjay Gulati shows how companies can embed purpose much more deeply than they currently do, delivering impressive performance benefits that reward customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, & communities alike.

To get purpose right, leaders must fundamentally change not only how they execute it but also how they conceive of & relate to it. They must practice what Gulati calls deep purpose, furthering each organization’s reason for being more intensely, thoughtfully, & comprehensively than ever before.

Is accomplishing this in most companies even possible?  Will top CEOs take these ideas seriously?  Listen in as Ranjay explains why every business’s survival will be at stake if they don’t.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.