How do I create a greater sense of purpose for our company?

A Brief Case


Jeff Kerlin
President and CEO
Tailored Label Products Inc., Menomonee Falls

“Throughout our professional careers, we often ask ourselves, ‘Why?’ Why do we come to work each day and why do we do what we do? Is it simply for a paycheck? Paychecks are great and we certainly need them, but there are many different things we can do to get one. So, don’t we all strive to ‘do’ something we’re passionate about? And to do it with people who share our passion?

“As leaders, we owe it to our teams to create a purposeful environment that transcends beyond a transactional relationship with a consumer and the singular goal of making a profit. Creating this environment doesn’t happen by accident.

“Our organizations should have a collective understanding of who we are, what we stand for, what makes us unique and where we are going.

“In the last year at TLP, we hired a coach to guide us through the E.O.S. (Entrepreneurial Operating System) process created by Gino Wickman. After having gone through this process, we’re able to better answer questions like: What are our core values? What’s our core focus? What is our vision? And what’s our strategy to get there? A key exercise of this system is evaluating and making sure the right folks are in the right seats, ensuring that our people are passionate about the seats they’re in and performing at a rock-star level.

“This process has clearly helped foster team member ownership, alignment, camaraderie and a greater sense of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Purpose.”


Steven Wurster
Chief operating officer
Ruekert & Mielke Inc., Waukesha

“A company’s purpose is not something that can simply be read on a billboard or talked about by C-suite executives at a quarterly meeting. To truly understand purpose, one needs to tie into the emotional fabric of a firm’s employees and clients. Purpose must be felt deep in the heart.

“At Ruekert & Mielke, our team of engineers and scientists develop infrastructure solutions that make local communities exemplary places to live, work and play. While we have always believed in that mission, the firm took actions a few years ago to deepen that purpose.

“A cross-section of employees from all roles, disciplines and generations developed a corporate playbook that acts as a guiding light to what is important at Ruekert & Mielke. The playbook includes cultural, charitable, employee development and business components. By deeply understanding our current mission, providing a roadmap of where R/M wants to go and then leading by example, our collective purpose was felt and a vision for the future put into place. Creation of the playbook was an exciting, exhausting, emotional investment, but one that has begun to pay off in spades as the playbook initiatives are put into action.”


Terry Rowinski
President and CEO
Health Payment Systems Inc., Milwaukee

“In today’s workplace, employees are striving to achieve a sense of purpose in their work more than ever. Creating a sense of purpose for a company is essential to motivate employees to do their best work and make them excited to come to work each morning.

“To begin, employers should set high goals for their companies to encourage employees to think BIG. Setting, and frequently communicating, these goals will show each employee how he or she is contributing to the big picture and making an impact on the entire company and community. For example, at Health Payment Systems, we set an internal goal called 1B16 – to achieve $1 billion in claims processed by 2016. To date, we have processed more than $1.6 billion in claims because we were all moving towards the same goal.

“You also can create a greater sense of purpose by connecting employees’ everyday work to the company’s mission. At HPS, our employees are passionate about our commitment to the Wisconsin market and believe in the need for transformational change in health care. Everyone feels a greater sense of purpose knowing their work is making health care billing easier for providers, employers and employees across Wisconsin.”

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