Through 25 years as management consultants, we have come to some conclusions that now shape and inform all our work.

1. Purpose matters … perhaps above all. Without unity and clarity of purpose, businesses eventually fail. Profitability, long a purpose deemed worthy of engagement, proves increasingly inadequate to meet the desires and even longing of many customers and employees for a more transcendent purpose. Clarity about such Purpose is essential.

2. Brands, whether personal or organizational, are the marks of identity and the Brand is the external mark of identity to which the business aspires. Not just a marketing creation, the Brand of a business lays claim to an ideal that lies at the intersection of what an organization loves to do – it’s passion – and a real unmet human need. The Brand gives public expression to the business Purpose.

3. Culture describes the inward reality of an organization, the marks of its identity. The norms and rules of the culture define how people within the organization should act and behave. Culture includes the artifacts of the company’s history and is particularly reflected in the behavior of its leaders and governors. The Culture gives the private voice to Purpose.

4. Authenticity and Coherence. An organization with authenticity and coherence lives its Purpose in and through its Culture and displays its Purpose in and through its Brand. Brand and Culture must be consistent with each other or the business is living a lie. In this age of social media when businesses no longer control what is said about them, authenticity is the only lasting option. Truth will come out.