When all is said and done, we long for purpose. I long for it. You do too. We want to know we’ve been a part of bringing progress to humanity. Our meager selves have done something to tangibly help others on this planet get to live their fullest and freest and purest potential.
Take it away from people… and get ready for anger. For revolution. For problems. For discouragement. For depression. For discontented citizens. For a discontented you and me. Etc...
PEOPLE IN BUSINESS TODAY WANT PURPOSE TOO! They want to know they’re part of something that matters, that helps people and brings positive change to our planet.
Some business leaders have discovered this and have created and now lead their businesses in ways that inspire others to love their work… They've become businesses that go beyond the bottom line. They transform people who will transform people. They make this planet better.. and at the same time generate profits to continue.
HOWEVER – Most companies and leaders who lead them don’t know this, nor do they know how to create such purpose driven organizations, or repurpose companies to be just that.
AND...??? Here's Why a Company’s Clear Statement of Purpose Matters:
Each of us has an all-encompassing life purpose. We’ve been put on this planet to do something other than take up space and be awarded with social security when we retire. Viktor Frankl saw purpose as what gives us the will to endure. The Bible says, “You we were created to do good works.” (see Ephesians 2:10) When we gather together as companies, why would we leave our personal purpose at home? And isn’t a community or a company really a gathering of purposed-people at work?
A clearly articulated purpose gives meaning to all activities. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” How might your company employ people in the occupation of together filling a higher (or was that hire : ) ) purpose?
“Purpose enhances the experience of flow, adding impetus, direction, and meaning to what we do.” (Dr. Robert Wright, Business With Purpose)
Having a clear purpose can be a great driver of innovation. Inspired people will tend to work harder to think outside the box and solve problems.
Purpose gives us something toward which we move, a compelling force that can break us out of our status quo and even bad work habits.
Workers will remain highly committed when they see themselves addressing societal ills in communities or nations. It takes leaders who know their purpose to help employees know theirs. (Children too!)
Clear purpose can turn foes and factions into allies.
People with a clear sense of purpose linger less. They know where they’re going and why.
A well-stated purpose brings the highest goals and principles into focus in a way that helps integrate a vision. It serves as a guide when the going gets tough and storms darken the horizon.
So, why don’t most (if not all) companies have a clear purpose?
Good question. Why do you think?
One thought: too quickly we leader-types jump to the goals and to-dos. “Who’s got time for the touchy feely stuff when there’s widgets to make and dollars earn?” However, want to be a good leader? Do the why work first! (Or work with a trained and purpose-driven coach or consultant to guide you and your team through your "why work.")
Purpose provides the why. The goals then become the what. Purpose, provides the context, the structure. But without the clarity of purpose, goals lack coherence, order, direction or power. People just go back to work being “to bring home a paycheck.” Or “to create profits for the shareholders.” (And of course that’s why everyone can’t wait (read cynically) for the next shareholder meeting or to vote on their stockholder proxy, right?)
But like a puzzle, once we see the picture, it's easier to assemble the component parts and have the odd-shaped pieces make sense. And if it makes people happier – more productive – more creative – more alive- why would we skip the purpose step??
Paul Watson said, “In the great scheme of things, what matters is not how long you live, but why you live, what you stand for, and are willing to die for.”
SO, THEN HOW??? OK, here are seven questions for you and your leadership team to address as a way to getting toward a clear and compelling purpose.
As it relates to our present or envisioned company/organization…
1. In what ways will doing what we do make the world a better place?
2. If there was more _______ it would really make the world an even better place. How?
3. If we stopped right now doing what we do… what positive thing(s) will be missing from our planet in 20 years? Why would that matter?
4. If we had all the money we could ever want and didn’t need to make money, what would we do as a company/team? Would we do what we’re doing now? Something else? Something more? Why or why not?
5. What results (beyond financial profits) make us really, really happy?
6. If you were to draw a picture of an awesome outcome … what would you draw? (If you’re adventurous, go ahead!)
7. What will be different in your and/or your family’s life 10 years if we’re truly successful? How would you feel about that?
Give those a try! Of course it will take some time and effort and thought.. and time and effort and... But, the results may just change your company. And change you. AND change the world!
Are You Ready to Experience Your Purpose@Work? Complimentary Book!
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