Why a ‘Purpose & Values Retreat’ will not work for you

by | Feb 26, 2022 | Brand Expression, Corporate culture

It is true that the world we now operate in demands that businesses demonstrate a clear articulation and proof of authentic purpose and values… a ‘why’ and a ‘how’ to direct ‘what’ we do… to move our people… to connect and build trust with our customers and stakeholders. This is why organisations are rushing to book in Purpose and Values sessions for their teams.

But it’s not enough to do a day (or even a week!) on ‘Purpose & Values’. While expertly facilitated discussions and experiences can move staff in the moment, and certainly generate some meaningful insights, typically these intangible outcomes get shelved after the retreat, where they start to gather dust.

3 key components to ensure Purpose and Values explorations actually create change

1. Understanding the Brand-Culture Connection: Change happens when a strategy is put in place to encompass all aspects of people and brand communication that are embedded within the company’s culture – and this first requires investigation to bring these existing communication ‘touch points’ to our awareness, in order to analyse how aligned and effective they are. In other words, to know all the ways in which we tell others the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of what we do, and to see how much we are saying the same things to all audiences, in all contexts and platforms.

2. Balance of inspiring leadership and shared perspectives: Change also is dependent on bringing all team members along for the journey, allowing them to be cognisant of the company vision and strategy, and providing opportunities for them to make the overarching Purpose and Values their own. This requires great leadership that inspires people to move with them, as well as a delicate balance between shared Purpose and Values, and time to reflect on individual motivations and philosophies. It is possible to connect the two.

3. Connecting all functions of the business with a united message: When different departments, offices or teams do not share confidence in a united brand message, the best of intentions for Purpose and Values are lost. Instead of siloed departments, leadership and management that is disconnected from the rest of the staff, HR teams running ‘programs’ that aren’t ingrained in culture, sales departments trying to do their own thing and marketing teams that are largely ignored… the strategic planning process needs to bring all these efforts together in a connected web.