Revive: Purpose, Values and Principles

What is the purpose? Artwork by Bianca Kremer
What is the purpose? Artwork by Bianca Kremer

Revive is a guidance tool to self-renew an organization based on self-management. You may use the steps in Revive as a guidance for your work, actions and behavior to flourish self-management.

It all starts with defining your organization’s purpose, values and working principles. So, let’s explore the parts of this first step.

Setting Your Purpose:

Purpose is the North star, your wishes, your desires, your raison d’etre. It is the main thing that everyone and every action in the organization that needs to be aligned.

In order to define your purpose for your organization, try to explore these questions:

  • what is your reason for being?
  • what do you aspire for?
  • which cause do you serve for?

One powerful example comes from the outdoor clothing company Patagonia, who states their reason for being as “use of all its resources to protect life on Earth.” Short and clear, a very powerful statement.

One frequently asked question about defining the purpose is, “who defines it?”. For our experience, it needs to be driven by the founding parties of the organization, however, involving every part of the organization into the discussion will make it more powerful. Remember, purpose will evolve, and you do not need to come up with a perfect one.

Setting Your Values:

Your values are your guard rails on your pathway to your purpose. Values are useful in order to help you make decisions and take actions.

In order to define your core values for your organization, try to explore these questions:

  • what is important and meaningful for you?
  • how should your organization behave in order to serve the purpose?
  • what does your organization stand for?

Again if we continue with Patagonia example, they declare their four core values as: build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to protect nature, not bound by convention. If interested, you can visit their web page and learn in more details about how they define each of these values.

Setting Your Working Principles:

Your working principles are your baseline that defines and protects how you want the work to happen inside your company. These are the fundamentals that everyone in the organization commit to act.

In order to define your working principles for your organization, try to explore these questions:

  • what do all team members expect of another?
  • what is your main guiding base that enables you to work together effectively?

This time, a good example comes from Morning Star, the tomato processing giant. Morning Star has two core principles; all interactions should be voluntary, honor your commitments. If interested, you may learn more about Morning Star from here.

Where and how to start to all of these discussions? Let your people learn about progressive companies like Patagonia, Morning Star, Buurtzorg and others. Inspiration can be a good motive to start. Then, invite all the interested parties to freely discuss around these concepts. Don’t look for perfection, put your first step and explore the ideas around the above questions.