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It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For

Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose (Portfolio, $25.95)

The best thing a company can do for itself in these tough financial times is have a purpose, according to Roy Spence and Haley Rushing, coauthors of It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For. In their new book, the authors encourage companies to create a definitive statement about what it wants to accomplish.

"[Your purpose] is your reason for being that goes beyond making money—and it almost always results in making more money than you ever thought possible," the authors write.

A true purpose has to be important to each member of the company, not just the leaders, such as Southwest's purpose of "democratizing the skies" or Wal-Mart's of “saving people money so they can live better."
Having a purpose can make people excited about their jobs, say the authors.

Spence and Rushing urge readers to create a purpose for their company by: revisiting its heritage, asking why, finding the thrill, talking to customers and finding out why they need the company, and finally articulating the purpose clearly.

Each section of the book ends with a survey that aims to help the reader analyze their own company’s accomplishments and weaknesses in order to have a clear idea of what needs to come next. At the end of the book is a summary which recaps many of the key points of the book.

Roy M. Spence is the cofounder, chairman and CEO of GSD&M Idea City, a national advertising agency. Haley Rushing is the chief "purposologist" and cofounder of the Purpose Institute in Austin, Tex.

—Kassia Shiskoff

Buy It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose.