The more I speak with people working hard in organizations, the less I see a “9 to 5” mentality. As work evolves in the 21st century, separating our professional and personal lives proves to be an artificial divide. Your personal purpose influences your work purpose, and vice versa.
A company’s purpose starts with its leaders and works its way through the organization. It shows up in products, services, and employee and customer experiences.
An inspirational purpose often lies hidden within an organization. The following suggestions will help you identify and articulate key elements:
- Revisit your organization’s heritage (past history).
- Review successes. At what does the business excel?
- Start asking “why?”
- What won’t your organization do? Review false starts and failures.
- Talk to employees.
- Talk to top leaders.
- Talk to high performers.
- Talk to customers.
- Follow your heart.
Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your calling. ~ Aristotle
A purpose is informed by the world’s needs. When you build an organization with a concrete purpose in mind – one that fills a real need in the marketplace – performance will follow.
Ask the following questions:
- Why does your organization do what it does?
- Why is this important to the people you serve?
- Why does your organization’s existence matter?
- What is its functional benefit to customers and constituents?
- What is the emotional benefit to them?
- What is the ultimate value to your customer?
- What are you deeply passionate about?
- At what can you excel?
- What drives your economic engine?
Mission statements used to have a purpose. The purpose was to force management to make hard decisions about what the company stood for. A hard decision means giving up one thing to get another. ~ Seth Godin, marketing expert