Purpose is a word with many definitions. Or least with many interpretations. Just think of the chiding parent who says to their child: “Now, Jimmy, did you do that on purpose?” Or the kid who asks, “What’s the purpose of a wasp? Or the chef who berates his sous-chef for using all-purpose flour. Both for the business and on a personal level, finding your purpose has become popular. But until it’s done properly, the benefits won’t be reaped. Being on purpose is not the easiest route, however, it assuredly is the most rewarding. There isn’t one sole purpose that’s right (the context and narrative are critical), but there are several which I would deem as wrong.
Many years ago and for several decades, per the Milton Friedman doctrine, returning shareholder value was the most common answer to what is the purpose of a company.
I recently wrote in an article, Is Every Purpose Okay?, how some people are happy to say that a company can have any purpose. The narrative goes that if the purpose of your company is to make money, that’s great. If it’s to make widgets, that’s fine too. The ‘big’ idea then becomes that you must articulate your strategy around that purpose.
My belief is that such purposes are terribly mundane. They are shared by all the companies making those widgets. To survive, of course, a company must make a profit. Alternatively, if you have no profit, you’ll serve NO purpose whatsoever. But that’s not enough.Are You On Purpose?If you have no profit, you'll serve NO #purpose whatsoever.Yet, you should strive to serve a bigger purpose that makes you stand up and stand out. Click To Tweet
Making purpose bigger… for the bottom line
To ensure long-term durability with the highest profitability, it’s my fundamental belief that a company must strive to serve a bigger purpose that is meaningful. It shows how they show up and why they stand up for their beliefs. Only in such a way will the company be able to stand out and garner a fuller engagement from its employees and its stakeholders through to the customers. To “be on purpose” means creating a culture where people feel it and live it on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be all the time, of course, because one must be pragmatic and sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do. However, everyone in the team needs to be aware of the purpose, relate to it and know how they are contributing to it. That’s the intentionality that will allow your company to develop in a sustainable manner. That’s how and why your future recruits and customers will gravitate toward you. That’s what will help you tap into you and your team’s discretionary energy.
Be on purpose!
When you are on purpose, it’s like being in flow. It’s a state where efficiency and effectiveness jumps. Your energies are aligned and challenges are relished. You’re doing things that matter and you know why it’s important. In such conditions, results will likely follow.When you are on #purpose, it's like being in #flow. It's a state where efficiency and effectiveness jumps. Your energies are aligned and challenges relished. You're doing things that matter and you know why it's important. Click To Tweet