Does your organisation have an MVP – Minimum Viable Purpose?

Sirte Pihlaja
CEO, Customer Experience Optimiser, Shirute

Live and learn, the wise men say. Lifelong learning, on the individual level, is all about a strong will and capability to stay on top of things to understand what the needed skills are today and in the future. In a similar fashion, organisations should always stay on alert. If the organisation is ready to embrace the change that constantly happens around it, by understanding its customers and employees, it has a better chance at survival. To some companies, change means that they will start drifting. Others – the ones who have a deliberately defined purpose – keep afloat even in big storms of change.

Usually, when people talk about MVP (Minimum Viable Product) they mean the simplest version of their product or service that can be introduced to an intended target audience. However, organisations should have their purpose crystallised a long time before they even start to ideate their offering. Why does this organisation exist? So, start by talking about your Minimum Viable Purpose. Without a purpose, your company cannot grow sustainably.

When looking at how many companies act presently, one cannot help but wonder how they even exist anymore. Just a quick glimpse in the current news feed makes it alarmingly clear that the situation is totally out of hand in Finland in the health & elderly care sector, but also in many other industries. It is sad to see, how many companies seem to have lost their reason for being. Instead, all of their decision-making and actions are based on a simplistic, one-eyed will to make money.

If your organisation has not stopped for a while to think about your purpose, it is about time. If you don’t have one, define it. If you do, revisit it now. Organisations everywhere should look up from their numbers game and see the people around them. Money does not come to the company from products or services, but from people. Customers are paying everyone’s wages (and sailing boats).


In order to foresee the future, you don’t need much of a crystal ball. Mark my words – if customers don’t like the way they are treated, they will vote with their feet. As ethical buying behaviour becomes more and more evident and a critical part of decision making for both consumer and corporate customers, the financial flows will turn towards those organisations that act responsibly and show they care about their customers and employees. It is so much easier to act responsibly, when your purpose is clear!

Start by asking why

What does the magical word ’purpose’ mean? The world-famous business thinker Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) advises in his top Ted Talk to start developing your business by asking the question why does our organisation exist. Purpose – or as Sinek calls it ’Why’ – is a vision of what kind of transformation the organisation wants to make happen in the world. How your organisation will get to this purpose needs to be clarified next. Only as the last part, think about what your organisation does. Take for example Apple: they want to challenge the status quo and do things differently; they achieve that by creating products that are beautifully designed and easy to use, and it just happens so that they produce phones, tablets and computers.

Also the guest speaker of our latest CX Masterclass, Customer Experience Management (CEM) guru Shaun Smith (@SmithCo_CEM) talks about the importance of having a purpose for the organisation to thrive. According to him, a believable purpose works like a beacon that attracts both customers and employees who identify themselves with it.

Customers want to buy from a company that acts in an ethical way that is easy to believe in – even for a higher price. Many younger employees don’t choose their employer anymore by who pays them the most. They want to work for an organisation that does not only seek after its own interests, but tries to make something good in the process. Money is not everything to everyone anymore.

Point your North Star to the entire organisation

Finding your own North Star to follow is, in many ways, a critical question. Purpose is not about creating a slogan or an ad stunt used to affect buying behaviour. The purpose of a company should guide its activities all the time. That is why every organisation must spend enough time for defining it. Clarifying your purpose also ensures that even in challenging situations, everyone knows how to act right. Otherwise the organisation will have a hard time to develop sustainably.

How do you bring the “new” MVP, ”Minimum Viable Purpose”, as a part of your organisation’s everyday so as to make it in the future as well? Once you have a clear idea of your purpose, make sure to take care of at least the following five critical tasks:

  1. Start from the top. Do the leaders of your company act in a way that helps everyone to fulfill the purpose? Are your employees looked after and do they feel valued? Make it clear to the directors that they must ACT as an example that all the personnel can follow. Your purpose is not something you just TALK about.
  2. Crystallise to every employee, why the organisation exists (purpose).
  3. Make it 100% sure that everyone knows, what the purpose stands for in practice. Ensure your personnel knows how to behave whenever they are in contact with your customers, clients and each other, in order to make your purpose come true.
  4. Explain personally to each and every one what their own role is in fulfilling the purpose.
  5. Instruct your employees by using simple guiding principles that help them to make customer-oriented decisions by themselves. Empower them to work also independently towards your purpose, as you cannot prepare ahead for all the storms that will be heading your way.


The writer of this blog, Sirte Pihlaja (Certified Customer Experience Professional, Trained Lego® Serious Play® Facilitator) is the CEO of the first Finnish customer experience agency, Shirute ( She heads the networking activities of the global Customer Experience Professional Association ( in Finland ( At Shirute, Sirte helps companies to fulfill their purpose by developing their customer and employee experiences using creative methodologies – whenever she is not making her own clients happy. The renowned expert has been awarded internationally for her work in furthering customer experience management knowledge and skills and building the community of professionals in this field.

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Ian Golding will be leading the CX Masterclass training on May 7th and May 8th. Do you want to learn how to build great customer experiences? Join us to hear great case examples on how leading brands revolve their organisational culture around their customers and employees. Get your tickets soon at We look forward to meeting you there.

Ian Golding is a renowned CX specialist, who advises leading companies with their CX strategies, as well as measuring and developing CX and listening to your employees. He is the first one to have achieved the Certified Customer Experience Professional certificate and acts as CXPA UK Ambassador.


“Ensure that you do right by your employees first, so that they in turn are able to delight your customers.”
– Ian Golding, Founder, Customer Experience Consultancy


CX Masterclass

Want to hear more about CX Masterclass and the reasons for you to attend? Read more and make a choice that you will not come to regret. Let’s meet in Helsinki!


Shirute organises this event in collaboration with CXPA Finland and corporate partners. During this one-of-a-kind training in May, you will hear many interesting stories about customer experience development from top companies in the world.


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Additional information:

CEO Sirte Pihlaja, tel. +358 50 5700 190

The Global #1 Best-Selling Business Book Customer Experience 2 Is a Shiny Example of the ‘New Normal’

Customer Experience 2 tops the charts as the #1 best selling book on Amazon e.g. in the “Customer Service” and “Consumer Behaviour” categories in multiple countries (USA, UK, Canada and France, etc), making the co-authors Best Selling Authors on three continents. Sirte Pihlaja, the CEO of Shirute, is a Finnish CX/EX expert, who has been evangelising CX all over the world during the last 25+ years. Her passion is using creative methodologies in creating great CX and EX. That is why she wrote about customer-centric culture and on the Role of Play in Business.


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