Charlie Garcia

Case Study Ernst & Young | Defining Purpose, Ambition & Strategy

TBOP2017 ⋅ 3:10 ⋅ Filmed May 11, 2017

When you think about companies with exciting and meaningful purposes, you might think of AirBnB or Apple. And you’d be right. But in this insightful clip, entrepreneur and non-profit CEO Charlie Garcia examines one company whom you might not expect would be on the forefront of the new culture of purpose: the Accounting & Consulting firm Ernst & Young. They’ve come a long way since they started their purpose journey in 2012 — and the results are staggering. If you need evidence to bring to your boss or colleagues that now is the time to define your organization’s purpose, bring them this video.


I want to show you a case study, of not an Apple, not an Airbnb. A company that most and many would think of stodgy and maybe a little bit boring, although they're not. And that is an Accounting & Consulting firm called Ernst & Young, EY.

Phase 1 - Definition

[00:21] They started on this purpose journey in 2012. This is what their band looked like and their tagline. And they changed it to this, ‘Building a better working world’. That is what they figured a were about and very clearly, they said this is our purpose, this is their ambition and they had some goals that were quantitative and qualitative. And they had a very clear short strategy not everybody could remember and explain.

[00:58] One of the Partners, who had been there for many, many years said, "For the first time in 28 years, when explain to me on one page where we are, who we are, we're going and how we are going to get there". And that's tremendously inspiring.

Phase 2 - Internal Focus

[01:15] Once they knew that, be turned internally and they started talking to their people and others about what they were all about. They took out full-page ads in the Financial Times which was the manifesto of what building a better working world actually meant.

[01:33] They got creative in all their offices, globally. Anywhere you went, that's what they were talking about and they started talking to their clients.

Phase 3 - External Focus

[01:43] In the next phase, which was external, they started thinking about how do we take this message to others all around and make you think better. And what happened, if you look at the the results of actually when people started joining the conversation and they talked about entrepreneurship, about empowering women, people got really motivated to come work at their company.

The Results

[02:16] These have been the results which is kind of the proof in the pudding. They were growing at 3-4% to today they're growing at 9%. Their employee base grew from 145,000 to 236,000 in a very short period of time. They are a talent magnet. They were ranked in the 20s, now they're ranked third globally in a group that measures their competition. In terms of best places to work, they went from 59 to 29. That is the power of purpose in a corporation that you wouldn't really think about being on the leading edge.

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