The Power Of Purpose In Company Culture
By Grace Kim
March 24, 2017
We’re still learning.
This is my answer when people ask for guidance on how to build a culture of purpose within their organizations. After seven years at GOOD, both as a manager and as an employee, I’ve witnessed the gap between well-intentioned ambition and reality when it comes to fostering and stewarding the kind of work culture that enables each team member to flex their unique skills and to rally together around a greater mission.
We’ve learned how values-based organizations like ours need to work extra hard to not take for granted the constant work of operationalizing the very values that attracted our top talent and guide our externally facing work. No HBR article, TED talk, or book on The New York Times’ best-seller list on workplace culture can replace the rolling up of sleeves, heart-centered, unglamorous servant leadership work of walking the talk.
What we’ve found is that purpose is not something that spontaneously presents itself; it must be carefully cultivated with humility. We carefully screen those who want to work with us to discern whether they share the same values, and we try our best to invest in both the personal and professional growth of our team members.
In the spirit of sharing our challenges and learnings with a broader audience, we joined forces with LinkedIn to promote the benefits of a purpose-driven company culture. LinkedIn launched the largest global study of purpose in the workplace, and we’re honored to be among the companies featured. Through the various portraits of purpose companies, we were delighted to learn that Kiva shares our practice of engaging the entire company through “All Hands” opportunities. Similarly, we took lessons from Southwest’s rigorous devotion to identifying top talent.
If you’d like to learn more about what other purpose companies are doing to create meaningful work environments, you can download LinkedIn’s Practical Guide to Purpose. My hope is that what’s shared can be informative for the place you spend most of your waking hours—whether you’re in a leadership role with a big L or a little l.