15 CEO Quotes About Operating With A Higher Purpose

Lately I have been thinking, researching, interviewing and writing a lot about the concept of higher purpose.

My work has led me to believe both society and employees are yearning for a higher sense of purpose. Society wants more from its leaders, be it from government, companies, the community, etc. Employees simply want more from their places of work including their leaders.

Together, when higher purpose is established and acted upon, great things can happen. All stakeholders can ‘win.’

CEO with a Higher Purpose Marc Benioff

Thankfully there are certain Chief Executive Officers who believe–like I do–that purpose is table stakes for employees, the organization and society on the whole.

Found below are what I believe to be 15 CEO’s who are operating (or have operated) their organizations with a sense of higher purpose. Each CEO has a corresponding quotation that highlights their beliefs for a more purposeful society:

“At the end of the day, you want to be profitable, but that’s not the meaning of life.” – Daniel Lamarre, Cirque du Soleil

“To be truly successful, companies need to have a corporate mission that is bigger than making a profit.” – Marc Benioff, Salesforce

“We have to bring this world back to sanity and put the greater good ahead of self-interest.” – Paul Polman, Unilever

“I’m here to build something for the long-term. Anything else is a distraction.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

“Essentially being a for-profit creates opportunity for doing greater good. And financial success as a for-profit with a social conscious carries greater credibility with your peers, potentially influencing actions of other businesses.” – Brian Walker, Herman Miller

“The blind pursuit of profit at all costs is untenable. It is essential that we make money the right way. After all, if communities suffer as a result of a company’s actions, those returns are not sustainable.” – Indra K. Nooyi, Pepsico

“I think if the people who work for a business are proud of the business they work for, they’ll work that much harder, and therefore, I think turning your business into a real force for good is good business sense as well.” – Richard Branson, Virgin

“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks

“Just as people cannot live without eating, so a business cannot live without profits. But most people don’t live to eat, and neither must businesses live just to make profits.” – John Mackey, Whole Foods

“Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality.” – Dee Hock, Visa

“People want to do well and do good. They want to understand how they’re making a difference in the world. Things change all the time, but your organization’s purpose transcends any individual product or service.” – Mark Weinberger, EY

“Our business success is directly linked to enhancing the well-being of the people who make and enjoy our products and to supporting the communities where we grow our ingredients.” – Irene Rosenfeld, Mondelēz

“Make meaning not money.” – Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands

“The real goal of what we’re doing is to have a positive impact on the world.” – Ed Catmull, Pixar

“An organization’s culture of purpose answers the critical questions of who it is and why it exists. They have a culture of purpose beyond making a profit.” – Punit Renjen, Deloitte

Written By: Dan Pontefract

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