Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies

Ranjay Gulati. HarperBusiness, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-308891-7
Leaders who want their businesses to do good must do more than talk about service, argues Harvard Business School professor Gulati (Management) in this fervent if familiar manifesto. Plenty of businesses claim to be purpose-driven, but “public professions of purpose often appear as little more than public relations exercises.” In order to establish a real mission, business leaders must ensure that the daily ins and outs of their operation support “emotional engagement and a sense of community.” Leaders should remember, too, that a company ought to take a long view and think in terms of decades, not quarters. Gulati encourages leaders to “linger in a space of ambiguity” as they balance shareholder values with a desire to do good, and to be willing to make trade-offs “between stakeholders and between commercial and social logics.” He surveys successful companies that have a purpose-driven culture—Etsy, Gotham Greens, and Warby Parker among them—as well as businesses that have seen setbacks because they don’t, including Facebook’s half-hearted efforts to oust white supremacist groups from its platform and subsequent loss of user trust. His call for change is commendable, but business readers will have seen this all before, and the execution is hampered by buzzwords and insufficiently concrete action steps. In a crowded field, there isn’t much to set this one apart. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/24/2021
Release date: 02/08/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-308893-1
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