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Company Purpose: a 90 second Survey…
the Results are in…

Exploring the Gap Between Strategic Intent and Organisational Reality: Uncovering the Challenges

Purposecraft, in association with NEDA, ran a survey at the end of 2023 under the banner: “Company Purpose: a 90-Second Survey”, which focused on the understanding of the perspective of the Non-Executive Director. The results make interesting reading.

Last year, an insightful paper by the NEDA associate firm, Purposecraft, was showcased on the topic of ‘Company Purpose’. The overall premise started by emphasising a headline perspective:

Survey overview

Building on this theme Purposecraft were keen to gather insights from a NED and Board perspective into how company purpose is typically positioned. Based on the “90 second Survey” the results from NEDA members show a notable consensus on the importance of company purpose, with strong recognition of its foundational role in corporate governance. This consensus extends to its critical role in driving value creation and shaping the overarching strategy of the company. Such insights affirm the commitment of NEDA members to the principles of effective governance, underpinned by a clear and actionable company purpose.

Boardroom perspective

The responses appear to shed light on concerns around the uniqueness of individual company purposes. This observation underscores the significance of a purpose that is based on the company’s unique history and strengths. It is this uniqueness that enables the company purpose to serve as a competitive lens and guide performance through consistent unparalleled value creation.

72% of NEDA members affirm the integration of the company purpose within the company culture, highlighting the board's vital role in fostering an environment that reflects and lives by its stated purpose. This is encouraging, as cultural integration is a cornerstone of effective governance and strategy implementation.

Comparison to Operational Views

But could there be a disconnect between the strategic intent of the board and operational reality?

This critical question arises from the sharply contrasting feedback, across all measures, sourced from the wider business community via a parallel LinkedIn survey. While it is not possible to precisely detail the diversity of roles of those who responded, the nature of LinkedIn's community—broad and encompassing a wide spectrum of professions and industries—suggests that the survey probably captures a wider range of views. This broader perspective, drawn from a platform known for its diverse professional membership, serves as a reasonable proxy for exploring how company purpose is perceived across various organisational levels.

The significant difference in feedback highlights an essential consideration: the company purpose, as crafted by the board, might not be as deeply integrated into organisational culture and decision-making as is required to unlock its full strategic and competitive value.

Headline Survey results

An opportunity to review and discuss

To address the challenges presented by this topical area, you are invited to attend a complimentary 30-minute webinar on Thursday 9th May at 11:00 AM BST. The Purposecraft Team, Simon Clarkson and Jack Eatherley, will outline how to define a company purpose that is both unique and operationally viable; align strategy with organisational culture; and ensure purpose acts as a foundation for resilience and competitiveness. This webinar aims to provide actionable insights into realising the full potential of company purpose across all organisational levels.

Register via this link to join this crucial conversation and learn how to transform your company’s purpose from a statement into a strategic asset.




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