Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies

Overview

In Purpose, world-renowned thought leader Nikos Mourkogiannis turns the entire idea of leadership on its head and shows that the choice between values and success is no choice at all. Mourkogiannis argues that companies must satisfy the need for purpose--a set of values that defines an organization and inspires and motivates its employees. Rather than organization and structure, ideas are what cause companies to go from good to great. Drawing on examples from across multiple industries, Mourkogiannis demonstrates...
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Overview

In Purpose, world-renowned thought leader Nikos Mourkogiannis turns the entire idea of leadership on its head and shows that the choice between values and success is no choice at all. Mourkogiannis argues that companies must satisfy the need for purpose--a set of values that defines an organization and inspires and motivates its employees. Rather than organization and structure, ideas are what cause companies to go from good to great. Drawing on examples from across multiple industries, Mourkogiannis demonstrates how a strong purpose is the essential first step toward lasting success.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
". . . filled with 'Aha!' moments . . ."

The Dallas Morning News

 

"The book is rarely dull and makes some refreshing points about the value of integrity and having a genuine vision of one's business."

Los Angeles Times

 

"A thoughtful, passionate book about a subject that is at once very simple and highly complex . . . Mourkogiannis' thinking, and prose, are wise throughout."

Financial Executive

 

"Purpose is a book that will engage readers with the simplicity of explaining one key word, and the sophistication of a philosophy built on the classic moral ideas of Aristotle, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Hume."

Connecticut Business Times

 

"Challenging and thought-provoking."

Accounting & Business Magazine

 

"Compelling. . . . the role of moral purpose in business is important; this book helps to illuminate it and has a stimulating chapter on how to apply the notions to leadership."

The Globe and Mail

 

"This book will change the way you look at your work and your life."

—800-CEO-READ

 

"Shows how to harness the power of purpose to energize an organization."

Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment (APADE)

 

"At a time when the public holds business in such low esteem, Purpose shows leaders how to restore confidence and make money at the same time. Nikos Mourkogiannis's message is informed, interesting, inspiring, and much-needed worldwide."

—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School and author of

Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End

"Nikos Mourkogiannis has provided incumbent and aspiring leaders with the needed counterbalance to Bossidy's Execution. Execution, absent Purpose, can drive once-great enterprises off the cliff and once-great armies into chaos and destruction. This book reminds leaders of the importance of taking stock of the legacy which has made great businesses great, while renewing the values and character required to flourish for a new era."

—Dr. Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management and Senior Associate Dean for Executive Programs, Yale School of Management

"Mourkogiannis has written an outstanding and very readable book describing the qualities of leadership that are essential to create great companies and keep them great. It is important reading for all entrepreneurs and business executives and those who would like to be."

—Martin Lipton, Partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

"Inspiring a large global organization with a common purpose whilst respecting its diversity is high on the agenda of top management. Nikos Mourkogiannis's Purpose sheds light on the importance and practice of defining and embedding a sense of purpose in an organization and, thereby, of aligning the interests of its strategic stakeholders. I recommend the reading of this outstanding book."

—Dr. Josef Ackermann, CEO, Deutsche Bank

"Mourkogiannis has artfully uncovered the essence of greatness in all great companies with the concept of purpose. Most importantly, he has brought this critical concept to life in a most powerful and approachable fashion."

—Douglas R. Conant, President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company

"Purpose is the missing piece in the corporate jigsaw of success, often overlooked by companies big and small and their employees. Nikos Mourkogiannis provides a compelling and gripping account of why this is so important, so impactful, and so inspiring. This book made me stop and reconsider my organization and I am sure it will do this same with many other CEOs."

—Euan Sutherland, CEO, A.S. Watson UK

"Nikos is a world-class thinker. In this book he reinvents leadership and shows what great companies have in common."

—Jacob Rothschild

"An essential resource for today' business leaders and for the next generation as they face the fresh challenges of this new century."

—Roger Fisher, from the foreword

"At this time, when the credibility of American CEOs has been drowned by greed, here is a roadmap for future leaders in whose wisdom the fate of the world rests. The notes and bibliography alone are worth a read—buy this book!"

—Robert A.G. Monks, co-author of Corporate Governance

"For the pharmaceutical industry, purpose is central. Mourkogiannis makes clear how we can use purpose to draw on the passion of our people to save and improve lives."

—Dr. Daniel Vasella, CEO, Novartis

"Mourkogiannis has it right: the organizations with a moral purpose are the long-term winners because they are motivated by something more powerful than money."

—Chris Hohn, Chairman of The Children's Investment Fund

"Nikos Mourkogiannis makes a powerful argument for purpose and its role. So many of engage the head, but so few really engage the heart and the moral convictions of our people. Who doesn't want this in their work? I think this thesis is as important for leaders as anything we do."

—Bracken Darrell, President, Braun

"Mourkogiannis can make things happen, because he really knows how business works."

—Professor Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO, Linde AG

 

"Nikos describes the importance of Purpose in corporate life in compellingly persuasive terms. Companies with firm purpose both have self-respect and command respect from outside and are far and away the best placed to generate and leverage the benefits of globalization. Beautifully written and required reading."

—Sir David Walker, Senior Adviser, Morgan Stanley International Ltd.

"Nikos Mourkogiannis builds on the concept of pride and explains why creating Purpose is the cornerstone of so many great companies. Great visionaries have built phenomenally successful businesses by rallying front-line workers around their Purpose in ways that connect to the work itself."

—Jon Katzenbach, KPL Katzenbach Partners LLC

"Mourkogiannis glides beautifully on the razor¿s edge of where we are in the current reality of the business world today. Purpose is the future practice that is here now. You will find insight that will help you become more aware and centered on the realities of practicing in today's global business environment."

—Louis Carter, President and CEO, Best Practice Institute

 

"Building on vast experience, Mourkogiannis analyzes what drives action and adds a new dimension to leadership. A truly inspirational piece of work."

—Thomas Thune Andersen, CEO, Maersk Oil and Partner, A.P. Moller Maersk

"An overriding sense of purpose is hard to achieve, and hard to change once achieved, but potentially transformational in its implications, as Nikos Mourkogiannis's book so persuasively demonstrates."

—Pankaj Ghemawat, Professor, Harvard Business School

"Across a broad array of industries and businesses, Nikos Mourkogiannis has made a substantial impact; he has an inquisitive mind with exceptional mental agility. He has turned many companies, in loss-making circumstances, into winners in this field. In Purpose he reveals many of the processes that have brought his clients success."

—Sir Jackie Stewart

 

"Enduring institutions—those that have stood the test of time—create value for society and base their code of conduct on values. In this context, Purpose is far more than the starting point of great companies, it is the centerline that guides institutions to greatness and significance over time. Nikos Mourkogiannis shows leaders the way to set direction and navigate the tides of growth and change."

—Ralph W. Shrader, Ph.D., Chairman & CEO, Booz Allen Hamilton  

 

"What a rich and enjoyable book! Mourkogiannis's ability to explain with great clarity the pre-eminence and enduring nature of purpose is remarkably inspiring in itself."

—Michel Accad, Division Head, Middle East & North Africa, Citibank

 

"Mourkogiannis reinvents strategy by anchoring it to purpose. Strategy that has no purpose is merely tactics; true transformation of an organization depends upon the principles described in Mourkogiannis's book."

—Dr. Reto Francioni, CEO, Deutsche Borse

 

"This book makes you think and think again.  It deals with the most fundamental issue of combining success and acceptance. And there is no way to avoid this debate. A must read."

—Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive Officer, BT

 

"Books on business usually arouse very little interest. This one is different and is a book for business in our time. I urge all business leaders from companies of any size to read this and more to the point, take its messages on board, for themselves and their colleagues."

—Sir Colin Chandler, Chairman, easyJet PLC

"Nikos Mourkogiannis's book brings us back to the central strategic question—the quality of purpose—and grounds it in an exciting analysis of great companies that performed well across the decades. Moral values and social purpose are rediscovered playing a vital role."

—Professor Joseph L. Brower, Harvard Business School

"Through his vast global business experience, Nikos Mourkogiannis offers fascinating stories and insights on the role of purpose in business success. This book will inspire CEOs, aspiring CEOs, and students of business everywhere."

—Donald T. Phillips, author of Lincoln On Leadership and On The Wing of Speed

"Nikos is the genuine Philosopher Consultant—with him you gain completely new insights."

—Sir John Parker, Chairman, P&O and National Grid

 

"A very insightful book which goes to the core of institutions' true identities and what they stand for. We need more of Nikos's initiatives, which give thorough analyses yet offers a truly enjoyable reading."

—Abdel Hamid Shoman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Arab Bank PLC

 

"Nikos Mourkogiannis has written an outstanding and very readable book describing the qualities of leadership that are essential to create great companies and keep them great.  It is important reading for all entrepreneurs and business executives and those who would like to be."

—Martin Lipton, Partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

 

"Nikos has it right, the organizations with a moral purpose are the long term winners because they are motivated by something more powerful than money."

—Chris Hohn, Chairman of The Children's Investment Fund

 

"Purpose is timely. Dialogue today is dominated ¿ no drowned ¿ by the language of economics. Mourkogiannis gives us an elegant new language. Most important, at this time when the credibility of American CEOs has been drowned by greed, here is a road map for future leaders in whose wisdom the fate of the world rests. The notes and bibliography alone are worth a read — buy this book!"

—Robert A.G. Monks, co-author with Nell Minow of Corporate Governance

 

"Building on vast experience, Nikos analyses what drives action and adds a new dimension to leadership — a truly inspirational piece of work"

—Thomas Thune Andersen, CEO Maersk Oil, Partner A.P. Moller Maersk.

 

"Inspiring a large global organization with a common purpose whilst respecting its diversity is high on the agenda of top management. Nikos Mourkogiannis' Purpose sheds light on the importance and practice of defining and embedding a sense of purpose in an organization and thereby, of aligning the interests of its strategic stakeholders. I recommend the reading of this outstanding book."

—Dr Josef Ackermann, CEO Deutsche Bank

"An overriding sense of purpose is hard to achieve, and hard to change once achieved, but potentially transformational in its implications ¿ as Nikos Mourkogiannis's book so persuasively demonstrates.¿

—Pankaj Ghemawat, Harvard Business School Professor

 

"Nikos has artfully uncovered the essence of greatness in all great companies with the concept of purpose. Most importantly, he has brought this critical concept to life in a most powerful and approachable fashion."

—Douglas R. Conant, President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company

 

"Nikos Mourkogiannis¿ book brings us back to the central strategic question — the quality of purpose — and grounds it in an exciting analysis of great companies that performed well across the decades.  Moral values and social purpose are rediscovered playing a vital role."

—Professor Joseph L. Bower, Harvard Business School

 

"Nikos can make things happen, because he really knows how business works."

—Professor Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO, Linde AG

 

"Through his vast global business experience, Nikos Mourkogiannis offers fascinating stories and insights on the role of purpose in business success.  This book will inspire CEOs, aspiring CEOs, and students of business everywhere."

—Donald T. Phillips, author, Lincoln On Leadership and On The Wing of Speed

 

"Nikos glides beautifully on the razor¿s edge of where we are in the current reality of the business world today.  Purpose is the future practice that is here now. You will find insight that will help you become more aware and centered on the realities of practicing in today¿s global business environment."

—Louis Carter, President and CEO, Best Practice Institute

 

"Companies that want a company to last should build them on ideas that have lasted.  Nikos Mourkogiannis makes a powerful argument for purpose and its role.  So many of us engage the head, but so few really engage the heart and the moral convictions of our people.  Who doesn't want this in their work?  I think this thesis is as important for leaders as anything we do."

—Bracken Darrell, President, Braun

 

"Nikos describes the importance of 'purpose' in corporate life in compellingly persuasive terms.  Companies with firm purpose have both self respect and command respect from outside and are far and away the best placed to generate and leverage the benefits of globalization.  Beautifully written and required reading."

—Sir David Walker, Senior Adviser, Morgan Stanley International Ltd

 

"For the pharma industry purpose is central. Mourkogiannis makes clear how we can use this purpose to draw on the passion of our people to save and improve lives." 

—Daniel Vasella, M.D., Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG

 

"Nikos Mourkogiannis builds on the concept of Pride and explains why creating Purpose is the cornerstone of so many great companies. Great visionaries have built phenomenally successful businesses by rallying front-line workers around their Purpose in ways that connect to the work itself." 

—Jon Katzenbach, KPL Katzenbach Partners LLC  

"Nikos Mourkogiannis has provided incumbent and aspiring leaders with the needed counterbalance to Bossidy's Execution. Execution, absent Purpose, can drive once great enterprises off the cliff and once great armies into chaos and destruction. This book reminds leaders of the importance of taking stock of the legacy which has made great businesses great, while renewing the values and character required to flourish for a new era." 

—Dr Jeffrey A Sonnenfeld, Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management and Senior Associate Dean for Executive Programs, Yale School of Management.

 

"What a rich and enjoyable book! Mourkogiannis' ability to explain with great clarity the pre-eminence and enduring nature of purpose, is remarkably inspiring in itself."

—Michel Accad, Division head, Middle East & North Africa, Citibank

 

"This book makes you think and think again.   It deals with the most fundamental issue of combining success and acceptance.  And there is no way to avoid this debate. A must read."

—Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive Officer, BT

 

"Books on business usually arouse very little interest. This one is different and is a book for business in our time. I urge all business leaders from companies of any size to read this and more to the point, take its messages on board, for themselves and their colleagues"

—Sir Colin Chandler,  Chairman,   easyJet plc

 

"Purpose is the missing piece in the corporate jigsaw of success, often overlooked by companies big and small and their employees. Nikos Mourkogiannis provides a compelling and gripping account of why this is so important, so impactful and so inspiring. This book made me stop and reconsider my organisation and I am sure it will do this same with many other CEOs."

—Euan Sutherland, CEO A.S. Watson UK.  (Owners of Superdrug, Savers, The Perfume Shop in the UK)

 

"Enduring institutions — those that have stood the test of time ¿ create value for society and base their code of conduct on values.  In this context, Purpose is far more than the starting point of great companies, it is the centerline that guides institutions to greatness and significance over time.  Nikos Mourkogiannis shows leaders the way to set direction and navigate the tides of growth and change."

—Ralph W. Shrader, Ph.D,  Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Booz Allen Hamilton  

"A very insightful book which goes to the core of institutions' true identities and what they stand for. We need more of Nikos' initiatives which give thorough analyses yet offers a truly enjoyable reading." 

—Mr Abdel Hamid Shoman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,  Arab Bank plc

"Nikos makes an excellent link between Purpose ¿ the ultimate destination for yourself and your organisation — and effective leadership.  This will offer a lot to business leaders including the leaders of the shipping industry."

—Captain Panagiotis Tsakos, Chairman of the Tsakos Group, Chairman of Lloyd's Register's Hellenic Advisory Committee.

"I loved this book! I hope it is a best seller. It deserves to be.  It is far better than 99% of the business books that become best sellers."

—John P Mackey, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Whole Foods Market Inc.

 

"This is a well-written, engaging, practical book describing the pivotal need for the understanding and sharing of PURPOSE, if the leader is to achieve optimal performance from the organisation.  The bibliography and the references to philosophy are in themselves good reasons to buy this book".

—Dr Neville Bain, Chairman, Institute of Directors

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403975812
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nikos Mourkogiannis is a senior partner at Panthea, an elite leadership consulting firm providing advice to Chairmen and CEOs of top companies around the world. He is also senior executive advisor on leadership to Booz Allen Hamilton. Nikos helped create the Harvard Law School Center on Negotiations with Roger Fisher, author of the business bestseller Getting to Yes. He has worked on some of the most complex and important business deals of the last thirty years, with some of the most influential leaders in international business and government. He lives in London.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Foreword   Roger Fisher     xiii
What Is Purpose?
Introducing Purpose     3
The Real Value of Purpose     23
What Purpose Is Not     45
Great Stories of Purpose
Tom Watson's Passion for Discovery     59
Warren Buffett and the Excellence of Financial Artistry     67
Sam Walton's Altruistic Commitment to the Customer     77
The Heroic Purpose of Henry Ford and Siegmund Warburg     89
How Purpose Builds Greatness
Purpose and Morale     113
Purpose and Innovation     127
Purpose and Competitive Advantage     137
Purpose and Leadership     149
Epilogue: Purpose in Action     173
Panthea and Booz Allen Hamilton: Our Proposition     197
50 Key Points     203
Notes     209
Critical Bibliography     217
Index     247
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2007

    A meaningful guide to discovering and implementing your company¿s mission

    While billions of people go to work daily, few have any sense of the ideals that drive their companies. That¿s no surprise. Few companies have any. Enter Nikos Mourkogiannis, with this inspirational and informative book on one of the business world¿s biggest problems. Companies without a purpose are rudderless, which is a problem for shareholders, employees, suppliers and customers. ¿Purpose¿ is a difficult concept to explain because it is so abstract, but patient readers will benefit from Mourkogiannis¿ insights and research. He occasionally gets bogged down in philosophical discussion, which he has trouble connecting to his profiles of purposeful business leaders. Nevertheless, his detours are tolerable, since they ultimately lead you to a new view of leadership. We recommend this study to CEOs, aspiring CEOs and iconoclastic business students.

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