Last fall, our extended leadership team (some 60 of us) got together for a planning retreat. During this time, we worked on our Core Ideology as a company. We wanted to answer the question, “Why do we exist?” and “What values do we share in common?” The answers to these two questions became our “Core Purpose” and “Core Values.” In this post, I would like to share the former.
We have now been living with our Core Purpose for the past six months. I think most of us are in agreement that this does a good job of articulating why we exist as a company. I have decided to post it here to a wider audience and invite your comments. What do you think?
As a Company we believe that we exist to inspire the world. To make this personal and memorable, we have stated it as, “We inspire the world.” In order to make it clear what we mean by this, we have expounded the statement word-by-word.
The pronoun “we” emphasizes our commitment to teamwork. We cannot accomplish God’s purpose for our company on our own. It takes more than a handful of star performers. It takes all of us, collectively working together, each employing our unique gifts, to fulfill our calling.
According to the dictionary, “inspire” means “1. To affect or guide; 2. To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion; 3. To be the cause or source of; bring about.” All of these meanings are relevant to our purpose as a company:
- First, we want our products—books, videos, and conferences—to affect people. We are not in the business of merely entertaining our audiences or “tickling their ears.” Instead, we want our products to have a positive impact on consumers. In addition, we live in a day when people are desperate for direction and advice. As a result, we want our products to provide practical guidance.
- Second, we want our products to have a positive emotional impact. Emotions are not something to disparage or disregard. They can be the very thing that provide the impetus for action. Inspired emotions can lead to noble actions. We want to intentionally stimulate those kinds of emotions through the products we produce.
- Third, we want our products to be a source of real change, both in individuals and in our larger culture. Looking back over our lives, most of us recognize that real change frequently came about as a result of the books we read, the conferences we attended, or both. These types of products provide an opportunity to affect deep and lasting change.
It is interesting to note that the word inspire originally came from the Greek work theopneustos. It literally means “God-breathed” (Theos, God, and pneo, to breathe). This is particularly fitting for our company, since we acknowledge that God is the ultimate Source of inspiration. We want our products to be a means by which God breathes new life into His world.
The world is the focus of our inspiration. While this work begins initially with the individual, it does not end there. Our goal is to inspire a chain reaction that ultimately influences the whole world. Our purpose will not be realized until our products are readily available and changing lives on every continent.