The Pyramid of Purpose is a tool used by organisations to illustrate their structure and strategy in a simple infographic.
It allows businesses to communicate their mission statement, goals and strategy, as well as establishing who is involved in delivering them.
It’s shaped like a pyramid form so that it’s easy to see clearly the different elements at play in an organisation.
Who can use the Pyramid of Purpose?
The framework can be used by any size of company, from start-ups to multi-nationals, and by the public sector and Third Sector organisations such as charities or not-for-profits.
It’s often designed by management and team leaders but can be used to communicate essential information about the organisation to those who work or volunteer there. When appropriate, it can potentially be shared with clients, suppliers and partners.
What are the four levels of the Pyramid of Purpose?
The pyramid is set out in four levels, each of which represents a different issue, but all of which are linked in some way. Start with Level 1 and once that’s accomplished, move on to the next level in order. The levels are:
Level 1 – Why?
Level 2 – What?
Level 3 – How?
Level 4 – Who?
Taking these in turn:
Level 1: Why? This level is for the mission statement, along with the company’s aims, goals and values. In here, you should list the reasons that the organisation exists, what its values are and what it wants to achieve. This can range from financial goals to developing products or offering services geared towards a particular segment of society. A large company may want to make profits for shareholders while a not-for-profit may want to raise funds to plough back into its activities. Use abstract language for this section.
Level 2 – What? This is where you define what needs to be done in order to deliver your goals as defined in the Why? section. This could include sales targets, recruitment, increasing audience numbers, new suppliers and so forth. It’s a good place to look at SMART goals – ones that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. As goals are achieved, they should be celebrated and rewarded.
Level 3 – How? This is where you set out the process required to reach the specific goals you are aiming for. It includes mapping out the various steps, such as what resources will be required, planning out a budget and establishing a timeline for the process. Detail is important in this step so that everyone involved understands what is required of them and when.
Level 4 – Who? It’s not enough to have goals, a strategy and a plan – you also need people to deliver these things. Every organisation needs to plan who will do the work required, which means identifying the skills needed and whether your employees/volunteers have these skills or whether you need to recruit additional staff or use contractors.
The Pyramid of Purpose is designed to help you establish why your organisation exists, what exactly you want to achieve, how you are going to deliver this and who will be involved. As you go through each stage of the Pyramid, it’s worth thinking about who will be using the framework, as you might want to create one Pyramid for your staff and a different one for investors.