May 7, 2016
The Purpose Effect

Inspiring CEO Quotes About A Higher Purpose

thepurposeeffect_banner_whiteLately (rather obviously) I have been thinking, researching, interviewing and writing a lot about the concept of purpose.

My work has led me to believe both society and employees are yearning for a higher sense of purpose. Society wants more from its leaders, be it from government, companies, the community, etc. Employees simply want more from their places of work including their leaders.

Together, when purpose is established and acted upon, great things can happen. All stakeholders can ‘win.’

CEO of Salesforce Marc Benioff (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group)

Thankfully there are certain Chief Executive Officers who believe–like I do–that purpose is table stakes for employees, the organization and society on the whole.

Found below are what I believe to be fifteen CEO’s who are operating (or have operated) their organizations with a higher sense of purpose. Each CEO has a corresponding quotation that highlights their beliefs for a more purposeful society.

At the end of the day, you want to be profitable, but that’s not the meaning of life. – Daniel Lamarre, Cirque du Soleil

To be truly successful, companies need to have a corporate mission that is bigger than making a profit. – Marc Benioff, Salesforce

We have to bring this world back to sanity and put the greater good ahead of self-interest. – Paul Polman, Unilever

I’m here to build something for the long-term. Anything else is a distraction. – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Essentially being a for-profit creates opportunity for doing greater good. And financial success as a for-profit with a social conscious carries greater credibility with your peers, potentially influencing actions of other businesses. – Brian Walker, Herman Miller

The blind pursuit of profit at all costs is untenable. It is essential that we make money the right way. After all, if communities suffer as a result of a company’s actions, those returns are not sustainable. – Indra K. Nooyi, Pepsico

I think if the people who work for a business are proud of the business they work for, they’ll work that much harder, and therefore, I think turning your business into a real force for good is good business sense as well. – Richard Branson, Virgin

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

Just as people cannot live without eating, so a business cannot live without profits. But most people don’t live to eat, and neither must businesses live just to make profits. – John Mackey, Whole Foods

Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality. – Dee Hock, Visa

People want to do well and do good. They want to understand how they’re making a difference in the world. Things change all the time, but your organization’s purpose transcends any individual product or service. – Mark Weinberger, EY

Our business success is directly linked to enhancing the well-being of the people who make and enjoy our products and to supporting the communities where we grow our ingredients. – Irene Rosenfeld, Mondelēz

Make meaning not money. – Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands

The real goal of what we’re doing is to have a positive impact on the world. Ed Catmull, Pixar

An organization’s culture of purpose answers the critical questions of who it is and why it exists. They have a culture of purpose beyond making a profit. – Punit Renjen, Deloitte

Want more? Download the entire Chapter 1 for free (PDF)


Dan Pontefract’s next book, THE PURPOSE EFFECT: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization, will publish May 10, 2016.


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