The Lazy CEO Podcast

Building Organizational Purpose

by Jan 23, 2023The Lazy CEO Podcast

google podcast
tune in

Building Organizational Purpose Episode At A Glance

  • Jim Schleckser, CEO of The CEO Project shares ideas for building organizational purpose.
  • Who is the purpose most important to in your organization?
  • What is the value of organizational purpose?
  • How do you demonstrate organizational purpose?

In this Episode

Today we’re going to talk about some specific ways that you can become more purposeful in your organization. Let’s just start with the audiences that care about this. Everybody does at some level, but there are three specific audiences that are highly attuned to purpose.

  1. Gen Zs – they have no fear about going to get another job because they’ve grown up in an environment where jobs were always available. And those of us that have been through a couple of cycles have experienced times in our lives where job jobs were less available, but this group has never experienced that. This group generally believes that since they are working, they might as well make a difference in the world in some way. They are looking for purposeful places to work.
  2. Millennials – like Gen Z are looking for purposeful work.
  3. Midlife Crisis Boomers – there is a point in a Boomer’s career where they are talking about what to do next year. We are going to make more money and grow our revenue and that’s the plan. Is that what life is about? The question of purpose at work became a present problem and issue at that time. And if they cannot find purpose in their work, they go find purpose outside the business.

So, what should we do differently? And, why would we want to have significance?

  1. To attract millennials, attract Gen Z, retain them, and midlife crisis people that are looking for significance in their life.
  2. To attract the right kind of people.
  3. To retain the right kind of people.

It’s about doing something amazing so you’re going to see a different kind of retention if you can find people that are in the tribe that buys into your purpose. But it will also mean that some people aren’t the right fit for you. The choice to be purposeful in a particular direction may exclude a large group of the population that doesn’t buy into what you’re trying to get done. And that’s okay. The ones you do get are going to be way more loyal, way more retained, and way more committed to the purpose.

How do you demonstrate organizational purpose? Here are a couple of examples:

At minimal levels of significance and purpose – donate money. Organizations have done this forever. Support junior achievement or Boys Club and Girls Club, support the United Way, whatever the organization is, and make donations to the community, or to the environment.

That is a great way to add purpose but is often not aligned with the greater business purpose and where you’re going and the tribe you’re trying to build.

Slightly better than that is a giving committee, and this is a case where the people in the organization decide where the money’s going. Most of the monies that are going to be donated to whatever charities in the community are determined by the giving committee of employees. This is a great way to engage the organization in where the money goes. Employees that are donating time, donating money on top of that is a great combination. So time and money get extra time and treasure if you will give extra leverage in the giving committee’s consideration. But more than that the giving committee is connected to the community so their ability to figure out what’s important and give to need points in the community is better.

An interesting way of having everybody in the organization on the giving committee is to say, if you give, we will match it. One simple move here is service days. If you want to go and give service to some organization, the company will give you time to do that. If they go spend half a day working in the soup kitchen or helping sort clothes or working with the Girl Scouts, they’re going to come back with a whole different energy around work.

Finally, there’s a lot of power in your giving aligning with your business as well. This one takes a little more thought than stroking the check to United Way, but I think it’s three or four notches more impactful and powerful in terms of building your culture and aligning what you do with your charitable giving.

For examples and perspectives on B Corps and aligning your charitable business into your business model, list to The Lazy CEO Podcast.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Jim Schleckser is the Chief Executive Officer of The CEO Project, a business advisory group for accomplished CEOs to help them solve their most challenging issues, resolve constraints, drive growth, and improve outcomes. With 30 years of leadership experience in business strategy, organizational development, sales, marketing, and more, Jim leads global organizations across many functional areas in both public and private environments. He specializes in solving issues that fast-growing firms experience in their business models and processes as they reach high-performance levels. Jim has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and National Public Radio. 

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by The CEO Project. The CEO Project is a business advisory group that brings high-caliber, accomplished CEOs together. Our team of skilled advisors is comprised of current and former CEOs who have run both public and private sector companies across multiple industries. With our experience and expertise, we guide hundreds of high-performing CEOs through a disciplined approach that resolves constraints and improves critical decisions. The CEO Project has helped high-performing, large enterprise CEOs with annual revenues ranging from $20M to over $2 billion to drive growth and achieve optimal outcomes. If you are an experienced CEO looking to grow your company, visit