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

Roy M. Spence Jr. and Haley Rushing

Retail Price: $25.95
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Format: Hardcover, 336pp.
ISBN: 9781591842415
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
Pub. Date: February 5, 2009

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Who is Roy Spence and what makes him the “Pied Piper of Purpose”?

Over the last thirty-five years, Roy Spence has helped organizations such as Southwest Airlines, BMW, the University of Texas, Walmart, the Clinton Global Initiative, and many others achieve greatness by getting them to obsess about one big idea: purpose. With purpose as the North Star, employee engagement is higher, competition is less threatening, customers are more loyal, and innovation flows. It’s the secret to developing a more fulfilling work life as well as a healthier bottom line.

Simply put, purpose is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world. As Spence writes, “It’s your reason for being that goes beyond making money—and it almost always results in making more money than you ever thought possible.” It’s not “soft stuff,” as some might scoff. Especially during times of great economic uncertainty, purpose is the key to creating and maintaining a high-performing organization. It deserves just as much attention as strategy, execution, and innovation.

A real purpose can’t just be words on a piece of paper. It has to get under the skin of every member of your organization—like Southwest’s purpose of “democratizing the skies” or Walmart’s of “saving people money so they can live better.” If you get it right, your people will feel great about what they’re doing, clear about their goals, and excited to get to work every morning. No organization is too big or too small, too niche or too mundane, to benefit from a clearly defined purpose.

Spence and coauthor Haley Rushing share their insider insights and case studies to help you discover your organization’s purpose, proclaim it to the world, and apply it to everything you do. This book will force you to address some tough and profound questions:
  • What difference do we want to make in the world?
  • What do we really stand for?
  • Do we have purpose-based leaders in key roles?
  • Do our employees feel like what they do matters?
  • Would our customers miss us if we ceased to exist?
  • Do we bring our purpose to life everywhere we can—both internally and externally?
Spence’s hard-won lessons will change the way you view your job, your business model, your leadership style, and your marketing. They will help you make money, make a difference, and—with a little luck—make history.


“Roy Spence is a brilliant, sparkling gem. Dedicated to the idea that true greatness comes in direct proportion to passionate pursuit of a purpose beyond money, he has inspired and changed leaders in every sector.”
—Jim Collins, author of Good to Great; coauthor of Built to Last

“If you’re looking for a way to inspire people, mobilize the talent and energy of your organization, and make a real difference, the road map and case studies in this book will help you do it.”
—Bill Clinton

“Roy Spence’s instructive book reflects his charismatic genius, his evangelical zeal, and his synergistic understanding of what makes businesses lodge in the hearts, not just the minds, of employees and customers.”
—Herb Kelleher, founder, Southwest Airlines

“Roy Spence’s creative brilliance has been an enormous influence on helping people better understand what the PGA TO UR stands for. The wisdom contained in this book is a great resource for those who want to lead their business with a purpose.”
—Tim Finchem, commissioner, PGA Tour

“Roy Spence has nailed the power of purpose in this visionary book and it will motivate and inspire you to find and fulfill a purpose at the heart of your organization.”
—Jim Stengel, former P&G global marketing officer and President/CEO, The Jim Stengel Company

“At BMW, we live and breathe purpose. Roy’s book and the powerful way he outlines how to bring purpose to life within your entire organization is the clearest game plan ever written on how to win on purpose.”
—Jack Pitney, vice president marketing, BMW of North America

“Roy Spence has a great gift for getting to the heart of the matter. Fearless in questioning the status quo and relentless in rejecting cynical shortcuts, he has his finger on the pulse of America like no one else.”
—Margaret Heffernan, Author of How She Does It

“Roy Spence’s book demonstrates the power of purpose in building successful organizations. He shows how to discover your purpose, cultivate it, and use it to make a difference as well as to make profits.”
—Bill Novelli, CEO, AARP

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About the Authors

Roy M. Spence, Jr., is chairman and CEO of GSD&M Idea City, a leading national marketing communications and advertising company that has helped grow some of the world’s most successful brands. He has also worked closely with presidents George H. W. Bush (41) and Bill Clinton (42) to encourage Americans to make a difference with disaster relief efforts. He has been awarded Ad Man of the Year, Idea Man of the Century, University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus, and a whole string of other bests. A popular keynote speaker, he regularly addresses audiences from the business, government, and nonprofit communities. His purpose is to try to make a difference in all that he does.

Haley Rushing is chief purposologist and cofounder of the Purpose Institute along with Roy Spence. She has helped some of the country’s most extraordinary organizations discover and bring to life their core purpose and authentic core values, including Southwest Airlines, Walmart, Charles Schwab, Norwegian Cruise Line, Whole Foods Market, World Market, Univision, the American Council on Education, Texas A&M, Louisiana and the American Red Cross.

Table of Contents

Pt. I Purpose Principles
1What Is a Purpose and Why Should You Want One?9
2Discovering Your Purpose34
3Articulating Your Purpose48
Pt. II Building an Organization That Makes a Difference
4Find the Thrill!65
5Have the Will!77
6Ignite the Passion!92
Pt. III Becoming a Leader of Great Purpose
7Stewards of Purpose111
8Purpose-Based Leadership Principles132
Pt. IV Bringing Your Purpose to Life in the Marketplace
9Fulfilling the Promise of the Purpose155
10How Purpose Can Take You Higher167
11How Purpose Can Make You Better189
12How Purpose Can Accelerate Your Momentum201
13How Purpose Can Set You Free from the Sea of Sameness216
Membership Organizations
14How Purpose Can Move You from Discounts to What Counts233
Nonprofit Organizations
15How Purpose Can Create Common Ground on Higher Ground243
16How Purpose Is Activated Through Insight255
Higher Education
17How Purpose Can Create a Grassroots Movement267
18How Purpose Can Explain the Unexplainable275
Sports Organizations
19How Purpose Can Tee You Up to Be Exceptional283
20Key Principles from the Book293

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