“Every organization does meaningful work that can be framed and leveraged as a shared purpose.”

Dr. Mark Bonchek, founder of , thinkORBIT and the Shift Thinking™ framework and Academy

Research indicates that employees regard engaging in a meaningful purpose as being more important than the paycheck. There is a growing number in today’s workforce that wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Everyone in the organization must see the big picture (the “Why,” the “How,” and the “What”) in order to appreciate and find meaning in the work they do each day.

According to Sheila Margolis, a distinguished HR consultant, high performing organizations are characterized by high energy, a sense of urgency, focus, passion, and perseverance,  and above all, they reframe work by sharing a—bigger picture—view of work to guide and align people, and energize emotions that propel success.

Shared Purpose is a constant process that gives people a sense of meaning in their work and can happen anywhere in your organisation

It is not just a collection of value statements on a piece of paper that people listen to and forget.

It is a way of thinking about what we all can create together

We must learn how to align Shared Purpose and link it to strategic objectives.

By seeing the organsation from a broader perspective, employees can focus on outcomes that make a difference.

Research indicates that our current workforce regards engaging in a meaningful purpose as being more important than the paycheck.

People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves

Employees need to be able to see and understand how their role figures in to the bigger picture.

In a Gallup study, researchers found that half of all employees do not have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them or where their potential might lead them. It’s important to be clear with individuals about their responsibilities, their targets, and your future plans.

Defining it is a journey of self-discovery for your business.

Here are things to consider when defining your brand:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • How does your company benefit your customers?
  • What qualities do you want your clients to associate with your company?


Shared Purpose & Organizational Philosophy

The WHAT, the WHY & the HOW

According to Sheila Margolis, business success begins with employees understanding the organization’s contribution, character and direction.

The “What” is the organization’s Vision and Goals.

According to her, when employees find meaning in the “Why” of the organization and when they feel comfortable living by the principles of the “How” of the organization, they must be sure their actions are directed at accomplishing the organization’s Vision and Goals– the “What” of the organization.

A shared purpose vision will create the link between the present and the future

A clearly established vision encourages people to focus on what’s important and better understand the need for change and realignment of resources.

A vision statement provides the direction in which the company will move. It defines the desired future state of what an organization wants to achieve over time.

An effective vision must be a meaningful picture of the future that can be fully articulated and shared by all. A clear future picture of the vision and goals will drive actions to achieve results.

A study by Bain Consulting indicated that organizations that have clearly defined Vision and Mission statements that are aligned with a strategic plan, outperform those who do not.

Examples of effective Vision statements include:

Avon: “To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women, globally.”

Microsoft: “Empower people through great software anytime, anyplace, and on any device.”

You must make the vision a sustainable part of the organization, by evaluating everything done in light of shared purpose and keep the vision in place for people to get passionate about and lead forward.

Vision is re-evaluated with reference to the changing realties of your situation, altering the organisation vision as necessary.

Purpose: “Why our work is so important?”


According to Dr. Mark Bonchek, there are three approaches to purpose — a purpose to, a purpose for, and a purpose with.The purpose to is a value proposition: “here is what we can do for you if you work here.” The purpose for, extends and builds on corporate social responsibility. When the purpose for is leveraged it gains the attributes of a shared purpose.


Business success needs a shared purpose mission statement that clearly articulates WHY the company exists


Apple mission statement in Steve Jobs’ era: “to make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
Target: “Our mission is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less. Brand promise.”


The shared purpose works on emotional binding and promotes a higher purpose

Shared purpose goes beyond a mission statement or canned company “vision” to connect the entire organization — and ideally its customers as well — with an idea that resonates on an emotional and aspirational level. For example, Disney’s purpose isn’t to be the most successful entertainment company. Rather, it is “keeping alive the magic of childhood.”

Purpose is a source of meaning that focuses passions on a shared cause. To achieve the deepest sense of connection with the cause,  employees must be able to  see how they contribute to it, in a way that propels success.

Organizational Philosophy: HOW we conduct our business

Purpose states “why” the organization exists. The Philosophy defines the organisation distinctive nature. Philosophy is the cornerstone of an organization’s character; what the organization stands for and  its unique way of delivering on its Purpose.  The Philosophy creates continuum. It is what employees believe in today, and what will continue to be central in the future. Where the Purpose is the heart of the organization, the Philosophy is its eternal soul.

Philosophy is an enduring “How” that frames and directs “how” work gets done.  A collection of values for guiding employees and informing customers.

Business leaders must share the Purpose of the company and  its Philosophy.

The leader’s job is to create that meaning. Show them their part in it and its effect on them.

The “Why” + “How” + “What” = The Big Picture

People want meaning and purpose in their work and life




When employees connect shared purpose with the “Why” and the “How” of the organization, and when they focus on accomplishing the “What”, then they have the big picture.

Work should be purposeful and meaningful

Work is more than an economic transaction; addressing the social and human side of the worker is key to achieving optimal performance.

It should contribute to making a difference in people’s lives and making the world a better place.

In the words of Andrew Mason, the former CEO of Groupon: “When our customers started telling us, ‘I love Groupon because it’s getting me out of the house, making me live my life,’ is when we realized the full impact of what we were doing.” He continues, “We’re not in it for making money. We’re in it for the passion we have for big ideas, making an impact and making the world better.”

The Purpose should be broad in scope to allow for future opportunities and change. Products and services may change, but the organization’s purpose must carry on.

  • Purpose is inspirational, motivational and enduring to the culture of the organization.
  • Purpose elucidates: Why is this work important?
  • Purpose defines its contribution to society through work
  • Purpose unites efforts and inspires action.

Shared Purpose must be consistently communicated so that everyone has a sense of the essence of who we are and the company’s distinctive contribution.

Communicating and celebrating progress towards the achievement of the goals is necessary in maintaining the shared sense of purpose.

A shared sense of purpose is strengthened when employees understand what is expected of them, receive clear performance feedback, coaching on the job and have regular discussions about their training and development needs.

A shared sense of purpose is an integrating plateau  that enables people to work collaboratively to achieve the organisation’s goals.

You can’t inspire someone without their participation and engagement

Employees are motivated by the “Why,” guided by the “How,” and targeted to achieve the “What,” ; the outcomes that support the organization’s vision and goals to drive sustainable success.

Employees engaged in a common goal work better together

Engaging a workforce and embracing a collaborative corporate sense of purpose.

Shared Purpose helps employees see that the company’s success is their personal success.

Leaders can draw employees into a shared sense of purpose by creating a compelling, realistic vision of the company’s future, and provide ways in which the company can achieve it.

If employees agree with the trajectory of the company, then they will be more willing to embrace effective strategies to meet established goals.


Purpose needs to be shared

With a shared sense of purpose, concepts become elevated and align more with the overall company strategy.

When an organization has a shared sense of purpose among the employees and the leadership there is a unified understanding of why the organization exists in the first place, and what matters at work.

Combine the “Why with the “How” to define the “What”, supported by the essence of shared purpose governing action and guiding performance.

The Big Picture Culture Framework

Shared Purpose begins with defining the aspirations, values, attitudes and competencies that effectively align brand and culture around the Shared Purpose that asserts not just what the organization does, but why it matters to engage employees and drive customer preference.


Want to build a company where great performers choose to stay and excel?

Then focus your energies on defining and promoting an authentic and clear sense of shared purpose to drive better business performance and outcomes.

Make Shared Purpose culture your competitive tool

Shared Purpose is a compass to guide.

With Shared Purpose employees know and see that they’re working toward the same purpose.

Shared Purpose  makes those connections happen, and it should illuminate the common ground that all employees share.

With Shared Purpose organizational change process is ongoing.

Use Shared Purpose to bring needed change to your company.