What does it cost OR what is the right thing to do? A shift from winning to purpose


Because it is crucial to consider which is most important: doing the right thing (in relation to purpose) or doing what is most cost-effective? In a contemporary context this question is often linked to issues such as purpose, quality, environment and social engagement. It is often not a simple question but it is very important to consider because to a large extent it determines the culture of the company and the message it sends to people. If the company most often does not do the right thing in relation to its environment, customers or society will it do the right thing for its workers? If you are a worker what does this mean for your engagement levels and the purpose and alignment of activities? Purpose is becoming more and more important to attracting new generations of young, talented people!


Reflect and have a discussion on how doing the right thing is or is not a struggle when choosing the most cost-effective solutions. What effect could this have on the engagement and ownership people feel? We don’t have any off-the-shelf solutions but feel that making this a topic for discussion is becoming increasingly important.

In essence, this is one of the most fundamental discussions you can have: is your company driven to earn money and to win or is it driven by a core purpose.


Make the winning vs purpose question a topic of reflection within the leading team of the company or department.

Take certain opportunities to ask co-workers the following question: what kinds of products, activities and goals would make you really proud (of the company, not in general!).


When you feel that it has become relevant, i.e. that there could be a real or perceived schism between the purpose and values of the company on the one hand and the behavior and activities of the company on the other.

Skills and necessary training

The capacity for self-criticism and for having an open discussion about one’s own values and behaviors.

Critical success factor

You have to genuinely consider this issue important otherwise there is no point to having it on the agenda.

Possible workshop exercise

Discuss to what extent there may be a schism between the right and the most cost-effective way of doing something. What is the effect of this schism? Is there something you can do about it? Are there any areas where you could put more focus on doing the right thing?

Answer the following question: what kinds of products/activities/goals would make you really proud (of the company, not in general!)?