“The goal is not to sell to people who need what you have. The goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.” – Simon Sinek, best-selling author and leadership expert.

Understanding what your biotech does and how it does this is fundamental, but what sets the exceptional companies apart from the ordinary is their ability to communicate the ‘why’. 

As Simon Sinek once famously stated, aside from making a profit, very few businesses truly understand why they do what they do. But though this is true in a lot of sectors, by their very nature, biotechs don’t fit into this group. Those working at the pioneering edge of scientific innovation are almost always motivated by a desire to contribute meaningfully to the improvement of human health. This desire is the main driving force behind the launch of many start-ups and spin-outs.

While the ‘why’ may be crystal clear, the challenge for biotechs is being specific about the difference your company will make, why you care, and why you’re passionate about what you do, and then communicating this message to people both inside and outside the organisation in a way that will excite and inspire.

Tom Froggatt, CEO and Founder of Singular, explores how you can define mission, purpose, and vision within your biotech company, and explains why thinking from the inside out is crucial for driving strategy and performance.

Defining your mission, purpose, and vision 

1. Mission: what are you trying to achieve?

Everything starts with mission. A good mission statement should outline what your biotech company aims to accomplish, the positive difference it seeks to make, and the real-world impact it will have if successful. Notably, it should have longevity, and be broad enough to persist beyond current programmes and objectives in place.

A clear mission lays the foundation of everything you do. If something serves the mission, it’s good. If it doesn’t, avoid doing it.

Our mission at Singular has three elements. We help biotech companies to build brilliant teams while spending less time, money and energy on hiring and people issues, so that they can focus on developing medicines, treating patients and saving lives. We also help biotech professionals to create the career that they want, and we help our people to develop, grow and experience incredible careers.

If you start with your mission, you’ll attract people who want to help you create the future that you’re pursuing.

2. Purpose: why do you do what you do?

Once you’ve established your mission, purpose is the next step. Mission and purpose are closely related. But whilst mission is what you do, purpose is focused on why you do what you do, why the work you do is important, and why you care about it.

Purpose is the driving force behind your company’s actions. It explains why your mission matters, why individuals within your biotech should care, and who will benefit from its success. More than that, purpose gives your story life. It’s what engages your team and encourages people to go the extra mile in service of your mission, and helps foster a sense of commitment and passion amongst your team.

Our purpose at Singular grew from the fact that the people and companies we work with are striving every day to solve the biggest health challenges that the world is facing. We want to support them in doing that and help them to change the world. Alongside this, people’s careers have an enormous impact on their lives, heavily influencing not only their earning potential and their job title, but who they spend time with, where they live, their levels of career satisfaction, and their overall happiness in life. We believe that people should be empowered to create the career that they want.

If you want people to really care about the work that you do, make sure you’re clear on why you do it. If discretionary effort is important to your success, then purpose is critical to your business.

3. Vision: what does the future look like?

Despite often being used interchangeably with mission and purpose, vision is subtly different.

While mission is what you do and purpose is why you do it, vision identifies what your biotech business will look like when you achieve your mission, the atmosphere within the company, the sentiments people express, and the memorable aspects of the journey.

Your vision needs to illustrate a compelling future by highlighting what success means, looks like, sounds like and feels like for your biotech. It should inspire and excite people both inside and outside the company.

We can all focus too much on the numbers, be it revenue targets, milestones or key deliverables. While these are all important, they don’t bring the future to life in the same way that a vision does.

Ultimately, in biotech, many programmes won’t ever reach patients and even more will stop short of the market. That doesn’t mean your work is unimportant, but that the experiences and the memories that you collect along the way are just as valuable. Empowering your team to imagine what the future will be like, and to see themselves in the bigger picture, will help you to retain and motivate them to even greater success.

Driving strategy and performance 

If you’re going to lead people somewhere, you need to know where you’re heading.  

More than just inspirational rhetoric, mission, purpose and vision are the foundation that great organisations build from and provide you with a clear sense of direction that is crucial for decision making. 

Attracting, engaging and retaining great people 

Every year at Singular, we conduct research into the reasons that biotech professionals move jobs. For the last five years, the top two drivers for job changes have consistently been career progression and learning and development. Our research found that, for over 65% of people working in the sector, having a clear sense of mission and purpose drives a sense of belonging, value and contribution, while a compelling vision allows people to imagine a positive future, both for themselves and for their careers. 

Purpose-driven companies experience greater growth, global expansion, and market penetration. A study published by Harvard Business Review found that purpose-driven companies outperformed non-purpose driven ones in areas such as growth (52% vs. 42%), global expansion (66% vs. 48%), product launches (56% vs. 33%), and success in major transformation efforts (52% vs. 16%). 

Additionally, according to the Deloitte Insights 2020 Global Marketing Trends Report, organisations driven by purpose generally experience 40% higher levels of workforce retention than other organisations. Working together towards a common goal connects people to a collective goal, fostering collaboration. 

Enhance productivity across generations

In a recent study of almost 50,000 business units across 192 organisations in 34 countries, The Gallop Institute revealed that employees who engage more with a company’s mission are more likely to stay with the company, take proactive steps to create a safe working environment, have higher productivity, and connect with customers to the benefit of the organisation. 

Notably, Gallup found that emphasising mission and purpose are key factors in retaining both Millennial (18 to 42), Gen X (43 to 68) and Boomer (69+) employees. 

The power of outstanding teams 

If better decision making, greater levels of discretionary effort and improved staff retention are important to your business, mission, purpose and vision are where you should start. 

At Singular, we believe in the power of outstanding teams. If you’d like help with developing a mission, purpose and vision that will help you attract, engage and retain the right people for your business, consistently and repeatedly, please get in touch with our team today.