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Three Elements of Organization Identity

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

Organizations cannot afford this misalignment; without clear connections among why they exist (purpose), what they offer (value agenda), and how they operate (culture).

A coherent and complete identity includes these three elements: purpose, value, and culture.


Activity without purpose is the drain of your life - Tonny Robbins

& the same is applicable for the organization.

Organizational purpose gives your business its reason for existence. It serves as a guiding force upon which every other decision is rooted. Organization purpose sets the tone for who your business exists to serve.

A good purpose is inspiring and actionable.

For a purpose to be actionable, it needs three things:

o A small set of purpose themes (about three) that focus on who and what an organization cares about.

o A set of bold, 10- to 30-year commitments for each theme. A bold commitment could be reaching carbon net neutrality by 2050.

o One- to five-year metrics assigned to each bold commitment. To achieve carbon net neutrality, a company might aim to install green technologies by a certain date.

By taking this approach, an organization can translate its long-term purpose into a set of practical and clear current objectives that connect to the value agenda.


A purpose only produces results when an organization translates it into a strategy with a value agenda that aligns the organization with value creation. The strategy should articulate the workstreams and initiatives needed to achieve the metrics articulated in the purpose, linking them to actual jobs to be done that create value for those the organization cares about.

Thus, the purpose and value agenda are seamlessly connected from the purpose statement down to initiative charters to be implemented the same year. Creating this link not only aligns the board, C-suite, and management but orients the organization toward a common purpose.

The value agenda should also connect to the organizational structure: Leaders should identify the critical roles that will help the organization achieve its purpose and ensure that the right talent is in place for each role.


By intentionally shaping its culture, an organization can rapidly and sustainably capture value. However, culture only becomes how the place is run when an organization expects concrete, specific, and observable behaviors. These behaviors should be articulated at the organizational and individual levels and linked to a specific organizational value.

For example, an execution-focused culture that concentrates on continuous operational improvement could require the following behavior as an example of excellence: “Sticks to procedures and continuously takes action to improve them.”

Only by creating a coherent and complete identity can organizations thrive in uncertainty, contribute to the world, deliver superior value, and create meaning for their people.


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