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Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes by Tim Sanders, G. Shawn Hunter

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Chapter 11

Purpose: Connect with “Why”

The idea that the sole purpose of the corporation is to create shareholder value is like saying the sole purpose of a human being is to maximize your breaths. It's not a purpose. . . . [T]he end goal of a corporation, its purpose, is to provide goods and services, and to do that in a way that's sustainable.

—Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business School

More than five years ago, my cycling partner and friend, Erich, contacted me and suggested we should ride in the three-day, 180-mile Trek Across Maine. It seemed like a reasonable and fun challenge, and all for a good cause—to fight lung cancer. I was in. Then Erich added, “We're taking the boys.”

He has two boys, Ian and Owen, just about the same age as my two boys (five and seven years old at the time), and I realized immediately this whole expedition had multiplied in complexity. Understand that Erich is a friend whose intensity and drive is higher than most people I know. When invited to ride with him, I learned early on that a “ride” often meant going about twice as far and twice as intensely as I had envisioned. I learned to calibrate expectations to Erich's world, but this audacious challenge was something new.

We rigged up bicycle contraptions featuring a tandem bicycle, plus a “tag-along” (pictured below) to accommodate the three of us. The machine, plus the bicycle bags (panniers)—loaded with rain gear, snacks, water, and probably a few miscellaneous things the kids claimed to need—all ...

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