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The Starting Point of Great Companies

Palgrave Macmillan,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Your company’s purpose is its compass; without it you’re lost at sea.

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Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Inspiring


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. getAbstract recommends this study to CEOs, aspiring CEOs and iconoclastic business students.


The Idea Business

While purpose is probably the most important element of business success, it is difficult to understand or explain. Business schools don’t discuss it, even though it is the reason most people work – beyond even money or power. Ideals drive purpose, which is the cohesive soul of a company. While ideals are abstract, especially in the business world, purpose converts them into action.

Purpose is a defining characteristic of successful businesses. It leads to success for three reasons:

  1. It drives achievement at all levels of a company, from executives to line workers.
  2. It reveals the human side of an organization. It motivates people to do what they do.
  3. It drives the behavior of leaders, determining how they spend their time, and what issues they ponder and discuss.

To develop purpose in their own lives and for their companies, leaders must understand their own intellectual and emotional capacities. They must develop discipline and tenacity. When CEOs undertake difficult tasks or face crises, they must be able to rely on their strength of character. Without character or purpose, they...

About the Author

Nikos Mourkogiannis is a senior partner at an international consulting firm and helped create the program on negotiation at Harvard Law School.

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