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The Meaning of Work: How To Create a Purpose Driven Workplace

Uncategorized Aug 04, 2023

Have you heard the question: “What’s your why?” 

Maybe you’ve watched Simon Sinek’s powerful TED Talk, “Start with Why,” which demonstrates how the most successful leaders focus more on why they do what they do, rather than how or what they do. At The Culture Fix®, we call this a CorePurpose™. 

This fundamental concept highlights your company's overarching goal and reason for being, providing a compass that guides your team towards a shared sense of direction. The importance of establishing this CorePurpose™ cannot be underestimated, as it lays the foundation for a fulfilling and empowering work environment.

A study conducted by Gallup offers insights into the profound human need for purpose. This comprehensive analysis, encompassing more than 98% of the world's population, identified five common elements that are vital for people, including your employees, to thrive in their lives. At the heart of these elements lies the establishment of a clear "why"—a CorePurpose™ that serves as the driving force behind individual and collective aspirations.

The simplest way to uncover your CorePurpose™ is to ask yourself: Who benefits from the work I do? How? Your purpose is always the goodness you do for the world. We’d like to share some Magic Moments with clients. Magic moments is a term we use when we witness an organization’s CorePurpose™ come to fruition.

Geneva Auto Body: Honoring Their CorePurpose™ 

Geneva Auto Body is a collision repair shop based in Wisconsin, and we worked together through the Culture Fulfillment program, with special focus on finding ways to inspire the most laborious workers in the company. 

Their team of dedicated workers toiled day in and day out, transforming bent and damaged metal into gleaming vehicles once more. Some of these workers had been at the job for decades, their hands weathered and experienced, but remained steadfast in their commitment.

When discussing CorePurpose™, I asked, "Why do you do it?" They all shared a common thread—the connection these cars held in people's lives.

The vehicles they meticulously restore are not just machines; they’re lifelines, connecting their owners to their lives. Each car represented a vital means of transportation, a bridge to their jobs, education, families, friends, and adventures.

Inspired by these profound realizations, an idea began to blossom—a way to strengthen the bond between the workers and their purpose. Together, we created a memory wall within Geneva Auto Body. The concept was simple yet profound—whenever a customer received their refurbished car, they would take a snapshot, immortalizing the Magic Moment of reunion with their vehicle. The memory wall became a source of inspiration, fueling the workers' spirits as they witnessed the tangible impact of their labor on people's lives.


Geneva Autobody CorePurpose™ Statement: 

We will deliver 2,000 magic moments by 2025 by helping customers move to their next adventure with their shiny repaired vehicle.

Every worker found renewed pride in their work, knowing that beyond the restoration of metal, they were contributing to the well-being of fellow human beings. This experience echoed my encounters with other companies on their journey to discover their CorePurpose™. Time and again, I witnessed a beautiful pattern—every noble purpose centered around serving others and fostering goodness in the world.

ISI Steel: Developing Lasting Impact

The remarkable journey of ISI Steel, a construction equipment & materials company based in the bustling city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is inspiring and transformative. This company’s CorePurpose™ developed around the way they elevated the lives of its employees, and left a lasting impact on the community.

Years ago, the founder of ISI Steel faced two challenges that required innovative solutions:

  1. The Gruelling Commute: The founder learned that his employees endured an exhausting and unsafe commute to work each day. Standing up in the back of a truck for an hour and a half each way, the journey to and from the village was physically taxing and risky.
  2. The Conundrum of Scrap Metal: Additionally, the company had accumulated scrap metal that seemingly served no purpose, raising the question of how to utilize this waste effectively.

The visionary founder of ISI Steel envisioned a solution that addressed both challenges simultaneously. He decided to build homes for the workers using the seemingly useless scrap metal—a decision that would not only provide safe and comfortable shelter for the employees but also eliminate their grueling and hazardous commute.

What started as a visionary idea soon blossomed into a vibrant community known as the "Blue Roof Area." The homes built from scrap metal not only provided safety and comfort for the workers and their families but also created a sense of belonging and camaraderie among the residents. The community thrived, embracing a strong bond that came from sharing a common purpose and living together as an extended family.

Since then, The "Blue Roof Area" has flourished and became a self-sustaining community. It’s grown to become the home of 15,000 employees of ISI Steel and their families. Within this community, the founders ensured that every essential amenity was available, from stores and medical facilities to dentists and schools. They even built their own soccer stadium (pictured below) and developed their own football team who just recently were promoted to the national professional league!

ISI Steel's visionary project not only brought positive change to its employees and the community but also had a profound impact on the Cambodian business landscape. By embodying their purpose & providing shelter and housing, ISI Steel has been able to grow as a business, becoming a major player in the industry, winning the hearts of its employees and customers alike. The CorePurpose™ became a driving force that guided every decision and action, aligning the company's values with its business practices. This purpose-driven approach not only brought positive change but also became a catalyst for ISI Steel's success in the competitive Cambodian business landscape. The ISI Steel story serves as a testament to the profound impact of aligning business goals with a higher purpose, demonstrating that a sense of purpose can elevate not just individual lives but also the spirit of an entire community.


In conclusion, the stories of Geneva Auto Body and ISI Steel remind us of the transformative power that lies in discovering purpose and meaning in our work. Each individual worker contributes to the fabric of our world, and when they find dignity and fulfillment in their roles, the effects resonate far beyond the workplace.

By embracing a CorePurpose™ and infusing it into the heart of our organizations, we set the stage for a thriving and valued culture. When employees connect with a higher sense of purpose, they become empowered to excel and innovate, leading to a stronger, more united workforce.

Moreover, purpose-driven organizations attract like-minded talent, fostering a community of individuals who share a common vision and passion. As we cultivate a sense of purpose within our businesses, we not only enrich the lives of our employees but also leave a positive and lasting impact on the communities we serve.

So, join us on our mission toward purpose and impact. As we unite purpose and passion, we propel our companies forward, enriching lives, and making a meaningful difference in the world. Together, let us embrace the true value of our work, building a brighter future for ourselves, our organizations, and the world at large.


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