Remember back in 2014 when CVS made the decision to stop selling tobacco in their stores?

CEO Larry Merlo was willing to leave billions of dollars in revenue on the table because the sale of tobacco products was inconsistent with the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.

Today we hear so much talk about purpose, and we genuinely admire companies such as CVS that have the integrity to live up to their commitments. But finding your company’s authentic purpose can be tricky.

A C-suite vision statement or a catchy marketing slogan can easily become a forced purpose that does more harm than good. Neither is genuine, and people see through them.

Purpose resonates strongly with people, and we are seeing more companies than ever before giving back. And, research shows that millennials prefer working for companies that are committed to social causes. Yet I am still surprised by how few companies can clearly articulate their purpose.

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