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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2010 - issue > Entrepreneur 101

Building A Purposeful Organization

Gunjan Sinha
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Gunjan Sinha
A lot has been written and discussed about having a clear vision and mission for successful startups. Startups that transition to become truly great organizations, beyond having a great vision and mission, often have a well articulated ‘purpose’. In this article I want to share my thoughts on how to think about the deeper issue of organizational purpose. Organizational purpose is something which provides a deeper meaning to the very essence of the organization. It provides a fundamental reason for the organizations to exist – it offers idealistic motivations beyond just making money. John Doerr, the legendary venture investor from Kleiner Perkins, often says that he is looking to back entrepreneurs who are missionaries not mercenaries. Making money is important, but it is not the end all and be all.

Entrepreneurs and business leaders spend considerable time and effort to identify a rallying purpose for the very existence of their organizations. ‘Purpose’ is a definitive statement about the difference that you as an entrepreneur are trying to make to the world. This is not just a sales or marketing idea to help add meaning to your brand, but is the genuine reason why employees, customers, and stakeholders must get passionately involved in the formation and growth of the organization – delivering greater impact to solve a deeper problem in the world.

Purpose Generates Passion

Successful sales people sell on passion and a deeper instinct that they are making a difference in the world. They demonstrate what they stand for, and influence the world in a manner that helps them achieve their goals. Successful entrepreneurs also know the power of passion – the passion behind their ideas, their innovations. They attach a deeper purpose to their existence. For example, BMW touts themselves as an ‘ideas’ company. They are not just making cars, but are helping spread the ‘joy’ of driving. It adds a level of excitement and infectious energy that transmits throughout their value chain. At SiliconIndia, while the vision is to create a professional media company, the deeper purpose is to build a ‘smarter’ India, helping India grow through the power of innovations and ideas. MetricStream, a leading provider of corporate governance and risk management software, is also passionately involved in bridging the governments and the businesses; helping businesses to better align with the governments around the world. I am closely involved with both MetricStream and SiliconIndia startups – and can see the difference and the deeper sense of commitment from all stakeholders that a higher level of purpose creates. Of course, these businesses are trying to grow and improve their profits, but they are also as passionate about making an impact in the world. It is important that entrepreneurs and business leaders think about the organizational purpose early on in the life of the organization and work to develop the common purpose that binds people across their value chain together. At Starbucks, the purpose is to create a meeting place for people around the world, helping them to interact with each other in a nice setting. Of course, they also sell a nice cup of coffee with that. Similarly Walmart has been passionate about really making things affordable for common people. At Charles Schwab there is a passion about giving the power back to the individual investors so that they can manage their money.

Purpose fosters visionary ideas and meaningful innovations. Organizations and employees are able to rally behind the purpose and are able to come up with ideas that help them achieve their purpose.

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