Backbone of Purpose

The strength of any system is its purpose. It produces…something. A California Coastal Redwood tree produces oxygen. A financial systems produces financial information, a process improvement system creates more value for customers. Cases studies from this research identified purposes such as, respect, relationship, safety, service, love, and workforce engagement.

This first section provides an introductory overview of a leadership system’s purpose. Purpose can be likened to an iceberg. It is the unseen mass that lies below the waterline. Yet it is this mass that determines its course and speed. Based on four case studies from manufacturing and healthcare, this first section demonstrates the transformative power of a system’s purpose. Three of the cases demonstrate the power to drive innovation and value creation. The fourth shows how ignoring purpose can result in the destruction of an iconic brand that focused on health, patient safety, and community engagement.

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