“One of the key things is to have a leader who actually believes in purpose and drives it. Particularly for a global business, they’ve got to be able to do this and be comfortable with it as well.”

Peter Edwards, Director of External Communications, RB

To get the best from employees, businesses need to give them inspiring and meaningful work. In short, they require purpose. And by championing that purpose, CEOs can guide organisations to remarkable results.
This is why businesses must find a way to articulate their purpose in a way that’s clear and relevant. And with the right words in place, your senior team needs to get behind it every time. The CEO’s job is to lead a business – and living the purpose is no different.

“It’s the leadership that keeps the momentum behind purpose. If you’re seeing someone who talks about it in his opening statement in the annual report, if you see him talking about it with passion and citing examples when he’s doing town halls, I think that’s the key thing.”

Stephan Feldhaus, Head of Group Communications, Roche

Having your CEO on-board with your purpose guarantees added reach and powerful momentum. Global businesses in particular need a CEO who’s comfortable with purpose and keen to drive it wherever they go. When stakeholders see that their CEO believes in their purpose, they will respond in a positive and profitable way. 

“We are fortunate to have a strong leading voice from our entire executive leadership on this topic. Purpose is ingrained in our company DNA and is an essential part of strategy development.”

Vivek Bapat, SVP Global Head of Marketing Strategy and Thought Leadership, SAP

A word of warning though. Without the full backing of your CEO, your purpose will struggle to grow and thrive. In time, all the potential benefits of purpose will begin to wither away. And who wants to leave a legacy like that?


How we can help

If you’re struggling to convince your CEO to lead by example, let’s talk. RY’s developed some tools that could be useful.

  • Leadership engagement sessions: RY will run a session planned to help leadership teams understand the value of purpose through tangible benefits, best practice and a bit of inspiration.
  • Fit for Purpose assessment and benchmarking: An in-depth yet quick assessment to learn where you and your peers are on your purpose journey. And what you need to work on next.
  • Create a corporate narrative: A corporate narrative should be your CEO’s guide to purpose. RY will work with you to define in one page who you are, why you exist and what you stand for.