“The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy” by Joey Reiman

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in Scott's Notes | 0 comments

“The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy” by Joey Reiman

SUMMARY (from book jacket):

Some ideas are bigger than others, and the Master Idea—your company’s purpose—is the biggest. When Nike said, Just Do It, the company put a voice to the belief that human beings have no limits. When Disney asked people to wish upon a star, they instantly established the powerful idea that life is magical. The Story of Purpose details a proven approach to engage and align leadership and associates, suppliers and manufacturers, a sales force and customers, and brands and consumers through a higher purpose…

Instead of focusing on what keeps you up at night, The Story of Purpose will leave you asking yourself “what gets me up in the morning?”

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Scott’s Notes

Maybe its because I am getting older (and, hopefully, wiser), but I notice myself being more reflective of “metaphysical” questions of what gets me out of bed in the morning and “why am I here.” Plus, I am finding that more senior-level candidates we work with are looking not just at the next rung on the career level in considering new opportunities, but rather where they can make a valuable contribution. Furthermore, several recent studies and surveys have demonstrated that Millennials entering the workforce have different views on work and careers than their hard charging Baby Boomer (and now Gen X) parents.


Of course, I did have a sage colleague suggested to me early in my career that I consider the following question: “What are you doing every day to get you where you want to be?” That idea, along with a professor in college who encouraged us to have a life spent 1/3 learning, 1/3 earning, and 1/3 serving has directed some of the recent books we have read. These include “How will you measure your life” by Clayton Christensen, “What I Wish I Knew When I was 20” by Tina Seelig and “The Story of Purpose” by Joey Rieman.


In the Story of Purpose, Rieman provides examples where a number of well-known companies display how they are trying to expand on their mission based on the underlying premise…“Mission is what you do. Vision is where you are going. Purpose is why you are here,” Reiman says. It’s the why that matters most.


From a purely business perspective, Reiman argues that companies today whose only goal has been to make money need to delve deeper to identify their purpose, i.e. the way in which they can connect with consumers to make their lives better while also becoming productive and caring members of the world community. For the employees of those companies that take on the challenge seriously, the benefits can be significant: “Purpose is the force that has the ability to tip the scales and shift from a business model that is self-serving to one that serves others.”


In making the translation from a corporate to a personal message, Reiman offers this definition: “Purpose empowers you to make a difference in people’s lives. It offers the opportunity to ignite you and your employees’ spirits, liberate your creativity, unleash your compassion for others, all while driving dramatic business results. Purpose is why you get up in the morning. It’s why you sleep well at night.”


Of course, that is the $64,000 question: Why am I here / what is the meaning of life?


I’m certainly not going to try to resolve that in a 500 word or so newsletter, but from a professional perspective, Reiman defines purpose as the place where your talents and the needs of the company intersect. He calls this your “Master Idea.” Here are some questions Reiman poses to help you discover that:

  • Why did you join your organization?
  • How would you describe the culture? What is the same / different since you joined?
  • Which of your personal values are consistent with the organization’s values?
  • What do you believe is most distinct/unique about your company?
  • If you had the ability, what is the absolute one thing you would change about the company? What would you never change?
  • If your organization were gone tomorrow, what would the world lose?


Oh, and by the way, did you notice that you could alter the wording of questions 2 – 6 to develop your own personal purpose? Reiman describes the 4Is process (4 I’s are better than 2, get it?) he developed to help determine that purpose, whether it is for your company or yourself. They are: Investigate, Incubate, Illuminate, and Illustrate. He goes into detail with some tips and techniques to reflect, observe, collaborate, and experiment to better articulate and make real that purpose.


If you’d like to learn more about The Story of Purpose, here’s a couple of links to a Ted Talk Joey Reiman delivered last year and an exercise to help evaluate and discover your personal purpose.

And if there is a specific book from our book list you’d like reviewed, please feel free to let me know.