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PuposeBook The Starting Point of Great Companies

Author: Nikos Mourkogiannis

To brilliantly match the title of the book, there is a single strong message through this book, that is: for companies to be successful, they must have a purpose that drives the strategy and values through all levels of an organization.

Purpose is explored with a moral avenue far beyond that of the typical mission and value often on display in companies.  It is presented by looking at four specific examples:

Discovery: Adventure’s Challenge

Mourkogiannis explores the way companies can make purpose and morality rooted in the adventures that they take through intellectual curiosity.  It ties closely to innovation and I love how the author relates discovery to a choice that enables freedom and opportunity to discover a new world.

Company example: Tom Walton’s IBM

Excellence: Virtue’s Fulfillment

Excellence means holding up high standards and great expectations of performance both internally and in the community of the business.

Company example: The Economist, Warren Buffet

Altruism: Empathy’s Justification

When a business exists primarily to serve its customers beyond the normal expectation or obligation tied in by a contract.

Company example: Sam Walton’s Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, Nordstrom

Heroism: Power’s Effectiveness

Heroism is when a company can demonstrate great achievement and success despite the challenges and setbacks it faces.

Company example: Henry Ford and Microsoft

Final Thoughts

While those are the four themes carried through the book, it is done well with many segments of practical advice and guidelines for discovering purpose and especially for turning that into strategy.  The third part of the book explores the areas that I was most captivated by.  It looks at purpose from each of these perspectives:

  • Morality
  • Innovation
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Leadership
  • Action

These wrap up the implementation of purpose into strategy very well and give the reader a lot of food for thought on their own business strategies.  There is plenty of wise advice throughout this book and one that you will certainly enjoy if you are planning strategy and guiding any significant portion of a company.  There is certainly a lot of wisdom for an individual perspective as well, even for entrepreneurs, but it is never really explored in that sense within the book, which is something I would have liked to see more of as I think it is much more common with that segment of business on the rise.

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