“If happiness is everyone’s ultimate goal, wouldn’t it be great if we could change the world and get everyone and every business thinking in that context?” Says Tony Hsieh in his book Delivering Happiness. He is the CEO of the online shoe and clothing company Zappos, is one of the most recognized companies getting a competitive advantage in the market, due to putting culture first and focusing on the purpose of delivering happiness to the world. And their customers know it.
Wouldn’t it be great if all the companies in the world could work to help employees, customers, suppliers and the community maximize it? In Toyota, they say their purpose is to “create long-term mutual prosperity for all stakeholders”.
Words and statements are great, but when problems, challenges, losses, grief arrive… we tend to lose our north. We don’t know where we are any more…
I recently suffered a loss. I felt vulnerable, disconnected from everything else, even from myself. Empty. It took a 2-day trip by myself to help me realize that I could lose everything, but I could never lose my purpose. If I stick to it, I would never feel empty again. So, I focused more than ever on my purpose, even more when I felt sad.
The same happens with teams and companies. As the research from McKInsey&Company Leading agile transformations “Purpose amounts to a clear, shared and compelling aspiration: the north star of the organization”.
It doesn’t seem to be anything particularly new; organizations have been looking forward to writing their mission and vision statements for decades. Unfortunately, they are usually just that, an empty statement. Sometimes they may not even be shared with the employees. But now, mission and vision alone are not enough. Researches have shown that also the purpose is important to guide a company. It has become a foundational element of the company culture, the reason for the team members to stay engaged. The team needs to know what needs to be done. How to do it depends on the why.
Another purpose statement from a hospital in Kentucky: “Continuously improve patients outcome through a culture of safety and clinical excellence”
Every system, a team or a company, “is a network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish an aim. Without an aim, there is no system.” Says Edwards Deming. That is what we call the purpose. Having a higher purpose in mind makes people work harder. The purpose may be to work towards having the best customer service or the best product on the market or it may be a more social purpose, such as being a green company.
A clear purpose allows people to:
The goal of the team members should not be just do their job, but to improve their job every day. A clear purpose helps them see that. That is how they connect better within the process, make better decisions and engage at work.
How are you working towards your purpose each day? What inspires you? What inspires your work? Are you working to be and do better? What is your company’s higher purpose?
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