03 Jul Purpose
The Unequivocal Pursuit of Purpose
There are a lot of people in business today who, simply put, do not know their why. I don’t mean the superficial why? Which is almost always ‘To make money!’ After all, everyone has to pay the rent, right? I have to pay the rent so I know what I’m talking about, there.
I’m talking about the deeper, underlying purpose of your business. What is your underlying why? In other words, why have you chosen to make your money in this particular way and not some other way.
The world, it seems, is changing and it’s no longer enough to be in the business you’re in without a sufficient why.
And who says that this is so? The younger generation, that’s who. These are the Millennials, aged between twenty and thirty years, who are beginning to populate our businesses as they leave school and college. They, more so than the current generation, are looking for something more than a pay check. It’s no longer enough to expect people to work simply because you’re paying them too; they’re looking to work on something they believe in while they make their cash.
Without a sufficient why, you’ll find yourself working with the dregs of the crop instead of the cream of the crop. You’ll find yourself settling for frustrating and under motivated teams, instead of galvanised, excited and enthusiastic top performers.
Changing the Game
So what is your why? Have you taken the time to ask? I recently ran into a group that is standing up to be counted among the Tom’s, Zappos and Wholefoods of our times.
Tom’s, for those who don’t know, expresses their why in every transaction. For every pair of shoes they sell, they give a pair to someone in need. For every packet of coffee they sell, they give a week’s worth of pure drinking water to someone in need. And it’s not just the big companies doing this kind of work.
I bought a snack bar from Two Degrees foods at this week that, for every bar sold, gives a nutrition pack to a child in need. That’s a defining why. And they’re not the only one.
It looks like humanity is learning, like my four year old daughter Bella, to share. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that?
These companies, then, are being grouped together in an organization who aims to be this generation’s Forbes Fortune 500. They’re called the Gamechangers 500 and they’re resonating with companies who want to define themselves by their purpose instead of their annual income.
Full disclosure, I was so smitten with the idea that I volunteered to help in any way I could. I’m forming a part of their advisory board, providing big picture strategic advice to accelerate these, their early years. So of course I think they’re wonderful!
Finding your Why
Let’s say, then, that the idea of finding your why is appealing to you. How do you go about it? In the end, it’s not that hard.
Of course, he said tongue in cheek, there are no end of consultants (like us) who would love to help you in this endeavour. But in the end, it’s as simple as setting aside the time, either on your own or perhaps with some people you respect to ask yourself the question ‘What is our defining why?’
If you’re stuck, why not look into the purpose of some other companies you respect? If you’re stuck for a list, whip over to the GameChangers500 site to see who is leading the pack.
Perhaps some of their defining why’s will resonate and become your own.
And the world will be just a little bit better when you do.