If the TOMS founder is disillusioned, what hope for the rest of us?

I’ve always had nothing but admiration for Blake Mycoskie and his TOMS business. (for those who aren’t familiar, Blake while travelling befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes. He created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One™. What an inspiring purpose. Today I read Blake’s article in the Harvard Business Review where he reveals how he’d become disillusioned by the business. How can that be?

TOMS purpose was definitely inspiring, possibly one of the most inspiring ever … but Blake realised “I felt lost because TOMS had become more focussed on process than on purpose.” As the business had grown, they’d become so focussed on the ‘what’ and ‘how’, they’d lost sight of the overarching purpose.

What I found so amazing in this is the relatively short timescale in which this lack of focus has occurred… TOMS only started in 2006 and by 2012 Blake had to take a sabattical due to his disillusionment.

How many businesses are holding on to purpose that is older than 6 years? A great many I would imagine. How many are tinkering around the edges of strategies aimed at refining or changing the WHAT or HOW … without truly investing the focus needed on an emotionally connecting WHY that engages and inspires?

Blake references the concepts from Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’…. the Golden Circle is a mainstay of our approach to exploring the ‘Why?’ with teams

Golden Circle

Blake has realised his ultimate WHY is to ‘create the most influential, inspirational company in the world’. How’s that for a shift in purpose?