You Have Defined Your Purpose. But Times Are Changing. Fast.

The economy – and world in general – is in turmoil. Covid-19, political unrest, volatile markets, climate change, a complete new way of working… It takes a lot of time and energy just to keep your business afloat. So staying focused on your purpose and committed to executing your vision might not be your first priority. But it should be. This blog will highlight how to live your purpose in times of crisis and change.

Now, more than ever, your customers are looking for guidance. You are in a unique position to help them overcome this crisis and find their own way forward. But how to continue living your purpose and executing your vision under rapidly changing circumstances and ever-increasing pressure?

Your Purpose Defines Why You Exist

Your purpose defines your reason for being. This is true for people, as well as for companies and brands. It shows how you strive to be unique and have a positive impact on society. And in these times, we are all looking for sparks of hope as a dark winter potentially approaches. So now, more than ever, the answer to the question ‘Why do you exist?’ deserves your full attention. 

But that is not enough. You also need to figure out how to demonstrate you are living your purpose in your everyday decisions and actions. As your audience – and the planet – needs it.

“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible. ” Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks.

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Now, more than ever, companies have an opportunity to be a force for good.

Or perhaps even an obligation, as governments face mounting problems of their own and regulation takes time. Whatever your motivations, leading with vision and purpose will allow you to stand out from the crowd, gain credibility and loyalty from your audiences, deliver superior financial returns while also being a force for good. So why would  you not?

Leading with purpose in times of crisis and rapid change requires focus, dedication and authenticity.

It is not always easy to keep on track and focus on living your propose, when you might be struggling for survival in a crisis. Or perhaps you are revising your strategy fundamentally and driving transformation. And of course, your company might be thriving, but being too busy responding to the market and running after opportunities without a plan is not always the best place to be long term. Then again, perhaps you are just trying to respond to customers who might be fighting for their future themselves.

But in each of these situation, opportunities lie. By showing you understand what is at stake, and how your organization or brand is helping your customers, employees, stakeholders or – why not – the world at large to move forward, you might gain long-term appreciation and value.

purpose and vision: top of the mountain

Key tips to help living your purpose while in a period of crisis and rapid, fundamental change

You might have outlined your purpose in different times. Perhaps you feel a need to increase your impact under the current circumstances. Or you see new opportunities on the horizon. Dust of your current vision and purpose and make sure these are what you aim to communicate.

Of course, if you do not yet have one, now is the time to get to work and define your purpose!

Your stakeholders are going through a period of unprecedented change and disruption. What do they need most? How can you help them best? Do you need to rethink your strategy and focus to deliver that? As always, it all starts with understanding your audience.

What can you do better than anyone else? How can you turbocharge your strengths to support your customers and execute against your purpose? If you have a lot of cash, you can invest and bring in new skills and capabilities. If you have great, motivated people, you can ask them to support you on turning your business towards the future. If you have a really strong brand, you can build upon that and make it even stronger. Dial up your brand identity and DNA and align them with your purpose.

Go back to the decisions you made in different times. When you were setting the budget last year and allocated resources, the world was a vastly different place. Now is the time to rethink those strategic choices.  Review if they help you achieve your purpose. Make new ones where needed. Also, this might be a good moment to take a close look at your product and service portfolio. Do you need all of your current line-up to be successful in this new world? Are your customers better served w other offers, that are perhaps more flexible, and subscription based?

Ensure your teams are involved in your new direction and choices. Create buy-in and build a strong support structure. Communicate what you are aiming to achieve. And, most importantly, why. Show how everyone, all employees from the executive team to the factory floors, can, and need to, contribute and give their all. And they will, if they believe in your purpose.

Lead by example, not by hierarchy. Show how you bring your purpose to life. Ensure your entire executive team does the same. And your middle management. Align your marketing and communications strategy. Deliver the same messages through your sales teams. Steer execution and reward success. And above all, show that you believe in it.

Lead with vision and purpose and steer your company, employees and stakeholders through this crisis.

Now that you know how to live your purpose in times of crisis and change, take the opportunity to examine your purpose closely and adjust where needed. Clarify your purpose for all stakeholders if you have not done so before.  Revisit the strategic choices you made in a different time and reallocate resources. Understand the needs of all parties involved, from employees to customers, from investors to suppliers, and build on your strengths to fulfill them. Double down on your strategy, and ensure all are aligned and can rally behind it. And above all: believe in your purpose and continuously execute against it, all the time, everywhere.

Vision and Purpose Design Workshop

Average duration

1-3 days

  • Engaging, interactive vision and purpose design workshops

  • With your executive team, key stakeholders or a larger group

  • Harnessing the creativity & insights of your organization

  • Upfront discussion of your goals and objectives

  • We will provide a framework and moderation

  • Sessions and trajectory tailored to your needs

  • Preferably not in the office!

We’ll be in touch soon!

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Last Updated: January 13th, 2023 / Categories: Leadership, Marketing, Strategy, Vision and Purpose / Tags: , , , /

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