Inspiration and Impact – When a Mission is Bigger than Goals

November 02, 2018

Why do we ride bikes? Because it’s fun, makes us feel good and lets us eat more. But at a different level, it’s really about a deeper connection to our thoughts, friends, and communities. A chance for us to log out and check in.

A job can be kind of the same way. Most of us work for one obvious reason, but hopefully, we can also find some deeper meaning. Sometimes you can get a little too caught up in the obvious stuff, like how fast you’re riding or how to make a better chamois.

PEARL iZUMi grew from a father creating a special high-performance jersey for his son, to help him win races. He gave him the jersey to make him faster, but what he was really expressing is love. It’s not “what he gave him that’s important, it’s “why” he gave it that matters. Hard to get deeper than that.

For us, goal number one has always been to make high-quality cycling gear that empowers riders to redefine their limits. We’ve put a lot of effort into making the best products we can, and honestly, we feel great about it! That goal will never change. But that’s what we do, not why we do it.

We’re athletes. We love a challenge.

As recently as early 2017, we were laser focused on making the best performance products. Our new President Chris Sword challenged us by questioning where we, as a brand, were going with such intensity. Performance is an unwavering goal, but it’s not a reason for being. Plus, other cycling brands share the exact same goal.

Was performance truly the essence of why we existed?

Our team had been asking the same questions. Each in their own way, the employees inside PEARL iZUMi had been proposing ways to have an impact on a more meaningful scale. Some advocated for environmental changes, others for social. Chris was as ready to challenge the status quo as we were.

So, in 2017, we set out to uncover our values and discover our true mission. “Our mission is the fundamental ‘why’,” says Sword. “It’s not a goal to accomplish, but the very reason we get out of bed in the morning. It’s the reason we exist and defined well it stays fixed forever.”

The forever part is important. To be effective, our mission can’t be transitory. It’s a formal recognition of our shared, intrinsic beliefs, which means it’s our North Star and our gravity.

Our mission: Unlock the power of inspiration and impact.

As athletes and humans, the potential of what is possible drives us. Our new mission opens the door to dream and empowers us to make those dreams a reality. We still get to make the best cycling apparel around. And now, we also get to amplify what “best” truly means.

We are giving ourselves the opportunity and the mandate to think big. We’ll be measuring our performance based on the net positive impact of our actions and choices, not just KPIs and units sold.

Ultimately, this mission is about people. It’s about tapping into what we can accomplish together as advocates, as cyclists, as parents, as citizens and as stewards of the planet for future generations. Defining it was a 10-month process of discovery that included contributions from–literally–every member of the PEARL iZUMi team. It informs every decision we make, from our facilities and our materials choices, to our hang tags and catalogs.

“We’re creating an opportunity to establish our own rules that are significantly more fun and rewarding, and that encompass the broad impacts of our choices,” says Sword. “Since we’ll never compromise on performance and quality, our “why” gives us a deeper sense of motivation and meaning, and ultimately drives more success.”

What will that look like? Check back on this blog for the vision and values that are stemming from this mission. And we want to hear from you. What inspires you? How can PEARL iZUMi support the positive inspiration and impact you’d like to see in the world?

*This post is the second in an eight-part series on PEARL iZUMi’s values and social purpose initiative.

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