Guest post by Leadership Keynote Speaker Greg Knapp
Are you crystal clear on the purpose of the business you work for or own?
Well, of course, Greg, the purpose is to make a profit. If we don’t, we go out of business.
I get that. Profits are great. But I see that as the outcome of the business, not the purpose. Every business wants the outcome to be profit. But, there are a million ways to make a profit.
What is the purpose you are fulfilling in order to get the outcome of a profit? How do you make a difference for your customers and the world?
This isn’t just a pointless word game. Deloitte has some great research on how important it is for your employees, customers, and bottom line. I’ll get it to you later in this post.
But what made me write about this today is a story a friend told me. He said the purpose of what he used to do was to keep people healthy and free of deadly diseases.
I asked him what kind of doctor he was. He replied that he wasn’t a doctor, he was an engineer. He designed wastewater management systems. He showed me a world map and pointed out all the places with unsanitary drinking water where men, women, and children were literally dying because of it. Then he showed me the places his water treatment plants were saving lives.
Look at the purpose he saw in his work. Do you think that made him a more engaged, enthusiastic, and joyful employee and person? You bet!
The purpose of your business, career, or job should be the difference you are making in the world. That’s important, engaging stuff – and every job can make a difference.
Imagine you’re a school bus driver. You could your purpose as driving a bus, or you could see it as helping the future of America get safely to and from school prepared to learn amazing things.
Most companies haven’t figured out how to be purpose driven organizations. Here are a few mission statements I found from fortune 500 companies:
- Profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment.
- Guided by relentless focus on our five imperatives, we will constantly strive to implement the critical initiatives required to achieve our vision. In doing this, we will deliver operational excellence in every corner of the Company and meet or exceed our commitments to the many constituencies we serve. All of our long-term strategies and short-term actions will be molded by a set of core values that are shared by each and every associate.
- To grow profitably in the world’s vehicular markets and provide industry leading shareholder value
Do those mission statements resonate with you? Do you know what the purpose of those companies is? Are you overcome with a desire to join their team and help them with their mission?
The first mission statement is from an agricultural equipment company. Maybe the purpose could be: “To help American farmers feed the world.”
Companies could learn a lot by looking at Steve Jobs’ mission statement for Apple in 1980: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
That sounds like something I could get excited about. How about you?
The bottom line is that having a purpose for your business that resonates with your customers, employees, and investors helps get the outcomes you want – including increased profit.
Here is the data I promised you. Deloitte found that at organizations with a strong sense of purpose compared to those without a strong sense of purpose:
- 73% of employees were engaged compared to 23%
- 80% of employees said they were encouraged to innovate compared to 35%
- 92% of employees had long lasting relationships with their customers compared to 69%
If you’re not sure what your organization’s purpose is, its time to find it.
It’s not what you do. It’s why and how you do it. It’s not your title. It’s your values. It’s not what you think other people want it to be. It’s what connects with you at your core.
Take some time to think about it. Take out a piece of paper and write:
The purpose of my company is ____________________.
The purpose of my role in ________ is ________________.
How does that call you to action?
How can you start doing it in your life today?