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Chapter 5 | Narrative Guidebook

Path to Purpose

What’s your distinctive way of achieving your purpose?

Combine the vision of your purpose with the authenticity of your DNA to form a unique source of differentiation.

How do you climb the mountain?

Path to Purpose combines the vision of your purpose with the authenticity of your DNA to form a unique source of differentiation.

A common concern about Shared Purpose is that it isn't distinctive enough.

But that's the point. You want your Shared Purpose to tap into a universal need or aspiration. Everyone should want to wear the T-shirt—it creates gravitational pull around your brand.

DNA is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s uniquely yours. No one else can have your DNA.

Path to Purpose lies at the intersection of your Shared Purpose and your DNA.  

Fundamentally, Path to Purpose is your point of view about how the Shared Purpose can best be achieved.

Your Shared Purpose makes it universally accessible and valuable, whether it’s creating beauty, improving health or making people smile. And Company DNA makes it uniquely yours.

Think about it like climbing a mountain. Everyone on the mountain has the same Shared Purpose of climbing it. But there are many different ways up the mountain. Path to Purpose is your unique way of climbing the mountain.

Example

Starbucks vs. Oprah

Starbucks and Oprah are both working on the purpose of inspiration.

Starbucks' mission statement says: "To inspire the human spirit—one cup, one person, one neighborhood at a time.”

Oprah Winfrey has said her Path to Purpose is "to inspire my students to be more than they thought they could be." Same mountain, different paths.

Oprah’s path goes back to a childhood desire to be a teacher, which is expressed through her TV program and media empire, which uplifts and educates.

For Starbucks, the path began when founder Howard Schulz visited Europe in 1983 and realized that everywhere he went, people came together for coffee and community.

Starbucks’ Path to Purchase is providing a “third place” for people to gather besides home and work.

“We are the third place in the lives of millions of our customers. We are the coffee that brings people together every day around the world to foster conversation and community.”
—Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks  

Exercise

Path to Purpose

Follow these steps to identify your Path to Purpose:

1. Try completing the following sentence:

“There are many ways to _________ [Shared Purpose]. Our way is to [Path to Purpose].”

Example: Starbucks
"There are many ways of inspiring the human spirit.
Our way is providing a third place between work and home."

2. Test the path to purpose against your DNA.

It's important that the path be authentic and natural to who you are.

3. Make sure the Path to Purpose doesn't collapse into path to purchase.

Shared Purpose combined with Company DNA elevates your Path to Purpose above the merely transactional. For example, Starbucks’ Path to Purpose is not just selling coffee.

Use the following worksheet to capture your Path to Purpose.

Recap

What’s your distinctive way of achieving your purpose?

  • Path to Purpose combines the vision of your purpose with the authenticity of your DNA to form a unique source of differentiation.