In our usage, the Purpose (capital “P”) refers specifically to an intention or reason for existence which creates benefit for others before the self (though benefit may extend there afterward). In the case of a company, then, Purpose offers a social benefit or meets a need that lies outside the company, beyond its owners and even employees, and is thus pursued for the sake of its own intrinsic good, not simply as a means to growth and financial success - even though those are likely and even required outcomes.
Purpose of this sort creates meaning, a meaning that transcends the “self,” and as it is “lived out” produces contribution, both of which are increasingly in demand as workforce and customer priorities shift in the context of looming social problems both locally and globally. Thus, as it produces meaning and contribution, “Purpose lived out” will form the foundation of the company that succeeds in the new social and economic reality that is emerging.
As it is being “lived out,” Purpose also directs actions and identity (both internally held and externally projected). So a verification of Purpose is actually found in alignment between identity and actions, in other words, Authenticity (which we believe represents the third important workforce and societal demand beyond meaning and contribution). This means that the company will be judged Authentic as much as its chosen Purpose is reflected in its actions and matched with congruency between its Brand (external identity) and Culture (internal identity).