Part 2 Thinking About Passions


At SMO, we believe that Purpose consists of these three factors:

(1)Company Strengths

(2)Company Passions

(3)Market/Societal Needs


(1)and(2)are on the inside of the company, and(3)is outside of the company. Where these three factors overlap lies the company’s reason for existence. Further digging into this, clarifying, and verbalizing the answers to these is how to acquire a clear Purpose. 

In this part, we will explore how to discover (2), “Company Passions”, by using a variety of methods.


Peak Valley Method

The Peak-Valley Method, also referred to as High-Low Method, is an exercise where you review your history and identify the high and low points. Practically, this involves listing major events in your history and ranking them on a positivity-negativity scale. Next, you review each event and clarify the reason why it was a high point or a low point. Going through this exercise reveals the values of the organization. In other words, it reveals what is important to the organization. From these insights, we extract elements and ideas that are passions of the company. 


When to use this method

This method is especially effective for purpose discovery on an individual level (for example, founders) and small teams / companies. This is because the participants are directly involved. They have first hand experience with all the key events, and, thus, are able to think deeper about the impact of the events.


We should note that there is also a side benefit to using this method. The exercise also helps you conduct a historical review of significant events. It provides an opportunity for the team and organization to reflect and learn about the history.


What about larger organizations and companies?

Unlike small teams, not every participant has personal and direct experience with all the historical events, which means the output that come out from this exercise can be superficial. For example, let’s consider a successful new product launch as an important high moment for a company. If you were not part of that product design and launch team, it might be hard for you to dig deep and understand the real significance of that event.


That said, however, if there is value for the participants to reflect and learn about the history of the organization, this method could be considered. With proper facilitation and guidance, this method can still yield helpful insights for large organizations.