The Power of Purpose

Inspire teams, engage customers, transform business


Purpose is the secret ingredient to exceptional ‭performance, happier employees and clarity in a
‭VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) ‭world. But how do you find such purpose and ‭ensure it propels your business forward?

‭- How can purpose provide clarity?
‭‭- How can it accelerate success?
‭‭- How can it build a long-term sustainable business?

The Power of Purpose shares a simple six-step framework to help you ‭identify, clarify and shape your business purpose, gain a competitive ‭advantage and boost your bottom line. But the benefits are not just ‭commercial: you’ll also accelerate innovation, simplify decisions, ‭inspire employees and build customer and brand loyalty.

‭With interviews from some of the world’s most successful business ‭leaders covering how they bring ethical purpose in business to life, ‭you’ll quickly learn how to harness the authentic values of your
‭business and discover how you can embody your purpose as a leader.

Buy from Amazon | £14.99 - Paperback
Additional Information

Highlights on how the author’s background has supported the content of this book:

The book idea arose out of John O’Brien’s 20 years working in the overlap of championing responsible business practice, corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy. During ten years as director of The Prince of Wales’s programmes at the charity Business in the Community, John worked with corporates of all sizes across the widest spectrum of activity which developed an agenda originally known as corporate community involvement and then growing out to embrace what has became more synonymous as CSR and sustainability. In this period John led initiatives which ranged across all manner of sectors. They included getting major supermarkets to visit rural locations in order to improve the understanding of the challenges within their supply chain. It involved support to fishing communities by creating business orientated initiatives. It also included developing identities for struggling market towns by engaging major global marketing agencies as well as improving awareness of the importance of diversity within both communities and businesses and creating a mentoring scheme between head teachers and business leaders.

Since leaving BITC in 2009, John has continued to work as a private representative for the Prince in this arena but also as an advisor across many well known businesses. During this period, he witnessed the financial crisis and associated corporate scandals as well as the emergence of new entrepreneurial thinking, the social enterprise sector, the demise of simple shareholder return as an accepted good “purpose” and changes in societal expectations on business. Whilst undertaking the development of his own mission-based business, Destria Partners, he realised that enhanced clarity of purpose, based on authentic ethical values, could the most significant non-technological development for business performance this century.

This thinking shaped the development of how his business worked successfully with clients ranging from corporates such as Walgreens Boots Alliance and Virgin Atlantic to charities including the WWF and National Citizen Service. The common factor in successfully working to enhance performance across both sectors was developing a deep clarity of organisations’ purpose, greater contribution to the world and core values. John and his Destria colleagues developed the thinking and engagement techniques applicable in practical and accessible ways.

John was keen to bring his experience together in a way which could help other people in business think differently about how they lead and manage. He also however wanted to ensure a wider contextual aspect to the book and in this regard turned to journalist and business writer Andrew Cave whose book “The Secrets of CEOs” he had read and enjoyed. Andrew was intrigued by the idea and could see the synergy between what John was doing in a practical way and his own experience observing and commentating on the changes in the thinking of many major business leaders. As he sees it, his previous work had shed light on how CEOs led their companies. This new book would focus on the “why,” looking at motivations and the greater good.

The combination of John and Andrew’s experiences developed into a rich concept which was enhanced by interviews with around 50 chief executives and chairmen as well as research among 100 other businesses.

Specific USP's for readers:

The 2008 financial crisis marked the death knell for the mantra of shareholder value being used to justify all corporate actions that company leaders needed to find reasons for. For more than 20 years, those two words seemed to be enough, when explaining what value they provide. No more is this the case.

The financial crisis asked questions of companies that shareholder value was not able to answer. What are our companies large and small really for? What are they seeking to foster? What benefits to they deliver to society and communities? What can businesses do that governments cannot? And what becomes possible within a workforce when its members are driven not by making money for stakeholders they never meet but by action for the greater good of the world.

Actions that were taken in the name of enhancing shareholder value, such as multi-billion pound mergers and acquisitions, were shown in the financial crisis to have instead destroyed enormous value. A quest for purpose in business had been evident for some time but the crisis gave it new impetus. Millennials now want to know what a company’s ethical and societal credentials are before deciding to invest their energies in them, whether as customers, employees or investors.

Governments and societies now increasingly look to businesses to step up to the mark and demonstrate their value and worth. There has never been a better time to show that your business has a genuine purpose, based on values and a mission. And companies that do demonstrate these qualities are being proven to deliver better engagement with customers, increased employee retention and increased revenues and profits for shareholders.

All this has created a need for a manual of purpose, a guidebook showing businesses how to go about finding, honing and spreading their mission. The Power of Purpose is the first book based on providing a practical set of proven actions to create purpose in business.

The book is unique in having had the benefit of research among 100 businesses on the subject of purpose in business and around 50 exclusive interviews with leaders of significant public and private businesses and non-for-profit organisations.

It takes readers through the six steps of identifying the need for purpose in their companies, finding, defining, bringing and creating a culture around that purpose and using it to inspire others.
The insights come directly from the heads of some of the world’s most purposeful companies, including Virgin Group, Unilever, Patagonia, VMware and Intuit. They are drawn from businesses of all sizes and ages, from the 331-year-old Lloyd’s of London insurance market to thriving entrepreneurial start-ups, such as Brompton Bicycle and online gifting group, Notonthehighstreet.
And they are relevant to the worldwide purpose movement, from the work of philanthropist entrepreneur Tej Kohli in his mission to eradicate corneal blindness from India to pioneering work of Iqbal Wahhab in rehabilitating prisoners by teaching them new skills in his London restaurant business.

Based on the 20 years of experience in the purpose-driven sector of John O’Brien and the insights into leadership that 27 years as a business journalist has given Andrew Cave, The Power of Purpose is the ultimate guide to how to use the “why” of a company to inspire its customers, engage its staff and transform its business.

Additional Information

Edition 1Format Hard CopyISBN 9781292202044
Imprint Pearson BusinessPlace of publication Harlow, UK