Purpose: The Overlapping Principle of Business and Career

Purpose: Why is it to some companies and people fail to achieve their goals. How can they define their goals better with an understanding of why they want to achieve those goals?

The benefits of knowing the purpose of a business or a career include increased understanding and greater engagement.

Goals and  Purpose

Goals are the things we hope to accomplish.  Purpose is the reason that we want to accomplish them.

I once heard a sales executive say that the only way to measure a company’s success are sales and earnings.  Pressed with the goal of increasing sales profitably, his view of the purpose a company was to make money for the owners and shareholders.

His focus on sales and profits as the purpose of the company was short sighted.  This company later failed, because the leadership didn’t understand that company’s purpose was to serve their customers with products their customers demanded.

So, Why Does It Matter?

Successful companies start with an idea of whom they will serve and what these people want.

Most companies set goals for what, when, how, and where they will deliver to meet consumer demand.

However, only the best companies focus on the purpose of the company, that is, consumer demand.  And, these companies beat competitors who focus strictly on goals but fail to remember the needs of the customer.


Two peanut companies (not real companies) compete.  The goal of each company is to meet consumer demand for peanuts.  However, Company A realizes that consumer satisfaction is the purpose that will create demand for the company’s peanuts. Company A focuses on taste, price, and availability to exceed consumer perfection. In doing so, they create their purpose as a company.  As a result, Company A, also, excels above its competitors.

The less successful companies set and succeed in the achieving the same goal of meeting consumer demand for peanuts. However, they fail in some way to achieve customer satisfaction.


In creating and updating your career plan, take a different view.  If it is your goal to make a lot of money, ask yourself, “What purpose can I serve to earn money?”

Another example is your long-term goal. Your career goal may be to become the president of a company. To achieve that goal, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my company and how can I help my company achieve that purpose?”

Your answer might be, “I want to achieve the purpose of creating the largest and, in time, most profitable customer base in my company’s industry.” The goals you accomplish are the steps in achieving the company’s purpose.

On this basis, you will understand why your company needs you.  You will become engaged and purpose driven.

Case Study

I knew an hourly employee who hated having to redo work.  This person couldn’t grasp and an understanding of the purpose of the work.  That is, completing the work was not the purpose.  Completing the work was a goal in the process.  Delivering successful results was the purpose.

This person became unable of engaging in work and left the company to find another job.