How To Serve A Purpose Bigger Than Yourself
We as a human race have long fought to find purpose and meaning to life. That struggle is relevant to our businesses and organisations, big and small, in defining why we do things. The emergence of social enterprises and purpose- led organisations all point to a paradigm shift in the world of business. Many of us have witnessed this rush to find purpose, sometimes retrospectively, which can demonstrate the extent to which senior executives are side-tracked by this game.
Simon Sinek, bestselling author and inspirational model for leadership says: “People do business with those who believe what they believe. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”. Articulating the ‘why’ of the business is treated as a top priority by start-ups and corporations alike.
Businesses that have stood the test of time have had to transform themselves more than once. Cutting costs and increasing output don’t provide the sufficient impetus for these transformations. Existing solely for profit is not enough. Businesses have to evolve to send a message to their potential clients and employees about the purpose of their existence, and how they plan to positively impact the world around them.
Purpose differentiates and attracts
Gone are the days when all an employee wanted was a salary with some perks and a title. Achieving job satisfaction and being a world citizen are increasingly becoming hygiene factors in the workplace today. People are much more aware of the challenges faced by humanity, and they want to be a part of the solution. A business that exists as a means to solving the world’s problems, as opposed to just making profits wins hands down in attracting talent and clients alike. This is the transformation that businesses are having to undergo in order to retain their place of relevance in the world.
Provides a common goal for all employees
For example, Unilever has committed to cutting its environmental footprint in half by 2020. The CEO Paul Polman shared the positive effects of being driven by purpose. He stated how the company was receiving far more engagement and many more job applicants once people realised the magnitude of their commitment in contributing to a cleaner world. Great leaders are able to ingrain their vision into the DNA of their businesses, inspiring and uniting employees with common goals and objectives. Whether it is outstanding customer service, or top notch quality of delivered work, or changing the way people do things, the founders and leaders of businesses have a responsibility to set the vision for their employees engage with.
Helps shape the brand strategy
Equally, Steve Jobs, who shaped Apple’s strategy and made it into one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world, had the following purpose: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” His vision shaped Apple’s strategy in the early days and propelled it towards unprecedented success and popularity.
A progressive business is one that is able to integrate a strong business model and a robust strategy with an uplifting purpose. One way to think about this is that if the business model is like the body of a business and its strategy is like its mind, then purpose is like the soul of great business organisation.
Are you clear about what your purpose is? How well is it defined and transferred across your organisation?
At Entrusted Consulting, we identify and enhance levels of TRUST in organisations to optimise corporate performance. This is achieved through a range of services from Trust diagnostic tools, coaching, mediation, board assessment and leadership development at all levels. You can learn more about how Entrusted can help you benchmark and improve the TRUST within your organisation, thus enabling greater results, by visiting us at www.entrustedconsulting.com