I’m going to start off with a question for you all. What do these three things have in common:
- CVS pulling tobacco products.
- Walmart discontinuing to sell ammunition in its stores.
- NIKE and Colin Kaepernick.
They’re all definitely hot button issues, but the answer we’re looking for is that they all have to do with a company making a decision that they believe follows their PURPOSE.
CVS’s CEO Larry Merlo was willing to leave billions of dollars in revenue on the table because the sale of tobacco products was inconsistent with the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.
Nike devotes an entire beautiful page to their purpose, which is “to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities and an equal playing field for all.”
Purpose resonates strongly with people, and we are seeing more companies than ever before giving back.
And, research shows that millennials prefer working for companies that are committed to social causes.
Yet we find that very few companies can clearly articulate their purpose.
It’s understandable in a way because when you are grinding under the pressure of expected quarterly – even monthly – growth goals, it’s easy to lose focus on something as aspirational as purpose.
It takes a lot of discipline to genuinely live your values and follow your purpose, especially when you’re in those beginning years of growth.
Here are 5 steps to finding your organization’s purpose:
Step 1: Come up with a list of “why” and “what” questions for your employees
This will help them focus on what matters most about working at your company. Consider questions such as:
- Why are we doing this?
- Why are we in business?
- Why do we exist?
- Why are we who we are today?
- Why are we good at what we do?
Step 2: Talk to your executive team
Organize an executive planning meeting and ask your key employees these questions. If you’re a small business with a handful of employees, this should be easy! Or if you all work remotely, jump on a video chat!
Just make sure everyone stays engaged and focused so you can truly make progress toward accomplishing your objective.
Step 3: Socialize your findings with the colleagues you trust most outside your executive team
Make sure your message resonates.
Step 4: Bring everything together into a short, simple and, most important, genuine message
Yes, be inspirational, but understand these words are now the compass that guides every decision your organization makes.
Step 5: Roll out your message to the entire organization with an activity that brings it to life
Let people feel it, touch it and be a part of it.
Then once you find your company’s purpose, stick with it.
It’s much more than a mission statement in the “about” section of your website. I know it’s cliché, but actions really do speak louder than words. In order to make your purpose stick, you need to weave it in wherever you can.
And with the holidays coming up now’s the perfect time to take your company purpose to action. Give back, volunteer time, donate, get together, do SOMETHING that embodies your company purpose.
Justine Smith is a Graphic Designer for Excelerate America, the fun, smart service for businesses looking to level up. Tell Justine about the ways your company is acting out their purpose this season by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.