Inspired by a Conscious Capitalism conference (and heeding the advice of successful entrepreneurs of every stripe), we were quick converts to the idea that articulating a core purpose for our upstart digital agency was essential.
The logic is pretty simple: It’s hard to get somewhere meaningful without first knowing where you’re going. Scratch the surface of any successful company (particularly one where the level of success is so dramatic that you’re compelled to ask “how did they DO that?”) and you’ll find a clear articulation of that company’s core purpose. Amazon’s declared intent to become “Earth’s most customer-centric company, where people can find and discover virtually anything they want to buy online” worked out pretty well. Southwest’s early rallying cry to “give people the freedom to fly” was particularly brilliant — clear, concise and inspiring.
So at Culture Foundry we sat down as a team to hash out our own. Easy, right? We’re a team of like minds working together, so we’ll all just blurt it out, be amazed when we say the exact same thing at the exact same time, then celebrate with a Coke. To increase the chances of wrapping up the whole exercise by lunch, we asked the question a few different ways:
What are we here to do?
What do we stand for?
Why does our team get out of bed in the morning?
What would the world miss if we were gone?
<Cut to 6 months later>
SEND HELP. AND SUPPLIES.
“We’ve been ‘almost there’ for months now.”
“So this is why these statements always sound written by committee.”
“I think I’ve got it summarized down to just six paragraphs now.”
“Let’s let this sit for a week. Again.”
“What does that sentence even MEAN?”
“Wait: What’s the difference between purpose, mission and vision again?”
“The longer I work on this, the shorter it gets.” (Progress!)
After drafting, debating, circulating, researching and revising with the entire team, we at last arrived:
Culture Foundry’s core purpose is to connect the world with beautiful technology.
As with most things, it got even better when the design team got a hold of it:
And with that, we were on our way.
Thus achieved, we moved on to the second hardest easy thing we’ve ever done: articulating the specific values to guide how we get there. But that’s another story.