While there are many buzzwords clouding the business world, one that is making a lot of noise at the current time is Purpose. More than ever before employees and consumers are demanding that companies live their purpose. Millennials, the demographic quickly making up the majority of our workforce, just won’t have it any other way. They have an expectation, a demand, that the place they work is purpose driven. But it isn’t enough to craft a well-worded and meaningful purpose. You, the leaders, need to live it and ensure your company is living it too. This can be a lot harder than it sounds.
Leaders often find it challenging to connect their organization’s purpose with strategy, financial goals, and people. It requires you to consistently challenge your actions and the actions of the business to ensure that everything is driven by your defined purpose. And this takes up time. Time that most of us don’t feel we have at our disposal.
Embed Purpose Into Everything
But, leaders, living your purpose doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. The very first step (once you’ve crafted your purpose) is to think about how your purpose can be embedded into the day-to-day activities of your business. This means you’ll need to gather your leadership team together and ask yourselves questions that force you to connect your purpose with everything else you do.
To help guide you through this process, we crafted a series of questions for this very purpose (no pun intended). We share all of them (and lots more on this hot topic in our latest book), but I want to share several critical ones now:
- How does our purpose shape or influence our strategic planning?
- How are we integrating purpose into our communication and engagement with our people? With our customers?
- Where and how is our purpose getting integrated into the mindsets, habits, and skills of our organization?
- How will we celebrate when we see purpose being activated in a powerful way?
When Organizational and Personal Purpose Collides
Marrying your purpose with your strategy and your people is critical. But to truly engage your people in the organization’s purpose, you’ll want them to dig into their personal purpose as well. And you’ll want to do this too! Why? Because organizations that create the time and space for people to create their own personal purpose are more effective in truly embedding organizational purpose into their companies.
Creating a personal purpose statement helps you and your people to establish meaningful connections to the work you all do each and every day at the office.
Whether you realized it or not, most leaders have dealt with personal and organizational purpose. It’s possible that you’re very confident with your own purpose, but if you’re not, or there are other leaders on your team that aren’t, you’ll want to spend some time delving into this now. And since this too might feel a bit daunting, we crafted questions for this task too, which include:
- What work and life experiences shaped me as a person?
- What are the unique skills and talents I can offer the world?
- At the end of my career, how do I want to be remembered? What is my impact and legacy?
The Bottom Line
When it comes to purpose, you must activate it authentically and effectively. Fall short and your people and your customers will take notice. Fail miserably and they will shout their grievances from the rooftops—or at least to all of their social media followers. The margin for error is shrinking.
For more information on purpose, why and how to define it, check out Chapter One in Rich and Jim’s latest book, What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back.