Last month, OpenText invited Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, a book on the passion that is at the heart of success, to engage with 60 business leaders to discuss organizational purpose. The conversation was a part of the Purpose-Driven Speaker Series, a multi-city series featuring bestselling authors and thought leaders in digital technology sponsored by OpenText.

Got Purpose?

At its most basic level, being purpose-driven is about having a reason to be. When you have a purpose, you go forth with gusto, not really focused on what others are doing, saying or thinking about you or the outcome. Having a strategic vision can either limit you or inspire great things. In the business world, too many companies struggle to find their purpose. They look to their users, or the marketplace or their perceived competitors to define their identity. And while these sources may provide feedback, unless you truly want to be it, your products will never reach its potential.

Think about the companies that repeatedly develop products that change the way we behave. It’s not just that Apple, Google and Facebook are innovative, it’s that they are proactive, not reactive. Anyone can wait to produce a comparable product, but it takes a purpose-driven company to redefine the way people work.

Empowered, Purpose-Driven

Sinek’s talk touches on many points similar to those associated with the employee-empowered initiative. The fundamental concept is that when you have purpose, everyone works together because they know what they are working towards. Sinek says:

A purpose-driven organization is a simple idea. It’s an organization of people who show up for the same reason, who work together to achieve something and will sacrifice so that the others may make it. Those are the great organizations, those are the organizations and the people that change the world."

Imagine what it would feel like to go to work each day knowing that you’re a part of something much bigger than you. It’s a feeling that is usually associated with nonprofit organizations or mission-driven foundations. But now, thanks to people like Sinek, corporations can begin to work more effectively, so that employees don’t just make widgets, they make widgets with purpose.

Join the Purpose-Driven Conversation

In addition to Sinek, OpenText is sponsoring other thought leaders as part of the Purpose-Driven Speaker Series. Upcoming sessions will feature: [UPDATED]

  • Michael Edson of the MIT Center for Digital Business on Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C.
  • John Seely Brown, author of the book A New Learning Culture and Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge on Oct. 18 in San Francisco
  • Andrew McAfee, Director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian Institution on Nov. 1 in Boston.

Each will host interactive sessions focusing on the various ways people and organizations can work together more effectively. While the sessions will be free, space will be limited and pre-registration is encouraged.