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Applying the Power of Purpose in the Corporate World

4 Nov 2015 by Shay Moser

Mission statements stating how your company wants to move forward, and vision statements outlining your company’s future, are blueprints for making business decisions, being inspired and seeing the big picture that give day-to-day work projects purpose. The problem is, because they’re often vague and broad, many organizations’ employees can’t remember their mission and vision statements — let alone put them into practice with their partners and clients.

"The most powerful purpose statements are crystal clear and single-minded in their focus," says Roy Spence, chairman and CEO of GSD&M Idea City, a leading national marketing communications and advertising company. During his keynote presentation at Insight’s annual partner event, Synergy16, Spence shared examples of what he means by purpose in the corporate world by sharing his own experience working with companies. And he tied them to Insight’s recently defined new company values — Hunger, Heart and Harmony — and purpose — we help businesses run smarter. 

Southwest Airlines gives people freedom to fly.

The low-fare airline, for instance, had to define their purpose — give people the freedom to fly — and put it into practice. That meant making flying more affordable for everyone in an industry with high-cost structures, like baggage fees. With help from Spence’s ad agency, Southwest turned this on its head, articulating their purpose with passion through the bags fly free campaign.

Spence said they started every meeting with the airline’s purpose in mind, which gave them clarity to make decisions, stay motivated and do meaningful work. If it hadn’t been for Southwest’s purpose, the company would have switched to baggage charges when the CFO demanded increased annual earnings. With the purpose to give people freedom to fly, the airline staff — from CEO to executive assistant — is doing worthwhile work.

We're more motivated to leave loved ones and pets 40 hours a week for meaningful work.

What do you feel when you fly Southwest? Spence learned from Southwest Founder Herb Kelleher, “Take the competition seriously but not yourself,” and this comes out in Southwest’s character. From singing flight attendants and free bags, to humorous pilot announcements and commercials, the airline’s fun sense of purpose shows.

Insight's purpose is perfectly demonstrated in our partnership with, and recent award from, the tech giant Dell. We partner to deliver Intelligent Technology™ to clients, helping their businesses run smarter. Our commitment to understanding Dell solutions to better market, and sell to clients and prospects shows our Hunger at work. Our value Harmony guides us to develop Dell relationships at multiple levels, across all verticals.

Mom gives great advice.

When Spence was 14 years old , his mom was a school civics teacher. At the time, he was studying Ralph Waldo Emerson in another teacher’s English class. When he turned in a test on the American poet, he got it back with eight misspelled words, earning a C-minus. His mom held back giving her scholarly advice. The following year, he studied Emerson under another teacher, misspelling 11 words on the test — yet he received an A. Spence put the paper in front of his mom for her academic opinion. “She replied, you can’t spell, but you can write. Don’t spend another day trying to be average at what you’re bad at, spend the rest of your life trying to be great at what you’re good at.”

Your purpose is where your talents and the needs of the world intersect. Roy Spence

What do we do to help businesses run smarter? Insight U.S. President Steve Dodenhoff wrote in a recent article, “We make meaningful connections — with research and information about IT solutions, with technology innovators, implementers, managers and the tools to make the most of your technology investments. That’s why we exist.”

Insight’s donation to the Halle Heart Children’s Museum puts meaning to this. Thanks to our partners, we were able to place self-guided tour kiosks within the museum, allowing for expanded hours of operation by supplementing the museum’s small staff. Because we have a strong technology network, we were able to demonstrate our value Heart in the corporate world — figuratively and literally.

Passion is born when your heart gets carried away with a purpose greater than yourself. Roy Spence