The importance of having a purpose to a company

  • 25/08/2022
  • 10 minutes

Companies are born and grow for years with an ideal behind them. They often do a lot for their segment, their community, and the country, but without translating this ideal into words. After all, what is the importance of having a purpose for a company.

For a long time, we have been working on this blog showing the practical and strategical side of businesses that want to use maritime transport as a vehicle for growth.

In this article, however, we want to start a conversation about something more linked to the ideal that is sought by each company, by each employee, by each investor, in their routine, in their daily relationship with the market and its surroundings. We want to talk about the purpose.

This topic which guides daily work, also led to many exchanges both internal as well as in the community that surrounds Wilson Sons. To summarize this process and its relevance, we asked Helvécio Oliveira, manager of Strategy and Innovation at Wilson Sons, and Bruna Baffa, researcher and director of EloGroup who took care of our qualitative research to define the purpose. Check out what they have to say.

The importance of working with the purpose of a company

When a company talks about its mission and its values, many professionals think of it as a marketing need. A story that is told to customers to delight them. This happened at the height of mid-twentieth-century commercial advertising, but it is a kind of thinking that no longer works in the era in which we live.

In a world of hyper connectivity and decentralization of information, the purpose of a company is what consolidates its DNA and points out convergent growth paths.

Bruna explains: “the purpose is the essence or direction that will form the basis to lead the organization in its way of being and acting in the world. When it establishes a purpose, the organization makes a commitment to the world and to itself.”

One point to be highlighted is what Helvécio told us about how the definition of a purpose unites all employees in a single culture, without the separation of departments.

“Until 20 years ago, innovation was done only by the ‘geniuses’ of the company. But today we need collaboration, even with competitors”, comments Helvécio, while he points the way. “The world is much more complex today. So it’s hard to do anything on your own. It is necessary to collaborate to do something bigger, to focus on innovation”.

In other words, defining its purpose is to guide employees, officers, competitors, and the market itself, to the same destination. All relevant parties of the routine begin to think about “how do I help others grow”, creating a cycle of cooperation and mutual growth.

How Wilson Sons’ purpose was built

To better understand the importance of having a purpose, it is worth knowing how Wilson Sons found its definition.

As a reference in a fundamental market sector, we realized that the definition of a clear purpose would be something transforming not only for our activities, but for the entire market in front of us.

Bruna Baffa talks more about this process, especially about how it was motivated by the new ways of consuming and connecting with people in the 21st century. “To draw a purpose, we need to did deep into the essence of the company, and that’s what we did at Wilson Sons”.

This research was done over several layers of the organization, measuring the perception of the Wilson Sons brand among more than 600 stakeholders: employees, executives, former executives, as well as interviews with partners, customers and key suppliers.

And what became more evident in this search was the view that Wilson Sons can be a driver for the future by integrating several parties into a unique economic development that has been going on for 184 years. From this, the purpose was revealed: “together we work to transform realities and deliver a better future”.

How Wilson Sons has been establishing the purpose in the work routine

It is a consensus between the two interviewees that the process itself and the revelation of the purpose have already been enough to start mindset changes at various levels inside and outside the company. “For us to really work together it is necessary to have transparency. The idea is that this phrase helps us. Besides, this will also help us to be able to see ourselves”, points out Helvécio.

The goal is for the internalization of concepts such as collaboration and expansion of future horizons to align everyone’s role in the same direction.

“Before, companies looked at their markets and at themselves. Later, in the innovation paradigm, products became the center of attention and the focus was on creating better products for their consumers. Today, companies go further, they look at people, society and everyone who relates to them”, explains Bruna. “People are those who are at the center: supplier, customer, partner, employee. We began to see organizations as a platform for connection and innovation, which demanded this change of perspective. And that’s why the purpose is so important.”

And this global mindset is just the beginning at Wilson Sons. For the future, new investments and market strategies will have this as a guideline, which will make our company increasingly integrated, collaborative and intelligent.

How your company can also create a purpose

Here we tell you a little about our purpose-building process so that it may serve as an inspiration. After all, as we mentioned above, the innovation of the future depends on the exchange of experiences and ideas.

Helvécio reinforces this idea when he states that the use of the word “together” is not just inside the company. Wilson Sons’ purpose is inviting and we encourage you to use it as well.

However, each business has its culture, its particularities, and its objectives. Features that may require you to pursue another type of mission.

In this case, the process that Bruna led within Wilson Sons makes perfect sense to any institution. Investigate among your business stakeholders what is the perception of your values and what moves you to the future.

“To draw a purpose, we need to dig deep into the essence of the company. One needs to have a clear vision of who the organization is for each of the parties that interact and build this organization on a daily basis, what moves and inspires it and what it can contribute to the world around it, the causes and themes that connect it to society”.

The two experts make the same invitation at the end of the conversation: that you immerse yourself in the essence of your company and find a greater purpose for your work.

That is exactly the purpose of a company. It is the immersion in a project for the future, in which everyone is invited to participate. Have a look at the video of the Wilson Sons purpose here.