Purpose

The Bridge to What Matters Most

The Bridge to What Matters    Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.  ~  Helen Keller   Great leaders like  Martin Luther King Jr . and  Walt Disney  always communicated their “why”—the reasons they acted, why they cared and their future hopes. Great business leaders follow suit:  ·  Herb Kelleher , founder of Southwest Airlines, believed air travel should be fun and accessible to everyone.  · Apple’s  Steve Wozniak  thought everyone should have a computer and, along with  Steve Jobs , set out to challenge established corporations’ status quo.  · Wal-Mart's  Sam Walton  believed all people should have access to low-cost goods.  · Starbucks’  Howard Schultz  wanted to create social experiences in cafés resembling those in Italy.  Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to you to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and your own values:  · In what way can you make a difference through company products and services?  · How can you express what truly matters in the work you do?  · In what ways can you make a difference in the world through the people you work for and with?   Making a Difference   When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages.  You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with  what  you want them to do. You must first communicate  why  it’s important.  Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of  why  they do what they do and  why  people should care. Only then will you inspire your people to attain sustainable success.   Leaders are the stewards of organizational energy. They recruit, direct, channel, renew, focus and invest energy from all the individual contributors in the service of the corporate mission. The energy of each individual contributor in the corporation must be actively recruited. This requires aligning individual and organizational purpose.  ~ Authors James Loehr and Tony Schwartz,   The Power of Full Engagement    I challenge you to think long and hard about both your personal sense of purpose, and your organization's purpose where you work. Do you see ways of aligning them?  It certainly takes work to think through these concepts. The reward is a self-renewing source of energy for you and your team. The invitation into the spiritual realm takes the thinking to a whole new level.  Embrace the challenge of finding your pathway to energy and renewing the enthusiasm you probably felt in the early days on the job. If you struggle with finding purpose, I suggest getting a good coach who can help you find more fulfillment and meaning in how you spend your days.  Let me know if I can help.

The Bridge to What Matters

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. ~ Helen Keller

Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney always communicated their “why”—the reasons they acted, why they cared and their future hopes. Great business leaders follow suit:

· Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, believed air travel should be fun and accessible to everyone.

· Apple’s Steve Wozniak thought everyone should have a computer and, along with Steve Jobs, set out to challenge established corporations’ status quo.

· Wal-Mart's Sam Walton believed all people should have access to low-cost goods.

· Starbucks’ Howard Schultz wanted to create social experiences in cafés resembling those in Italy.

Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to you to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and your own values:

· In what way can you make a difference through company products and services?

· How can you express what truly matters in the work you do?

· In what ways can you make a difference in the world through the people you work for and with?

Making a Difference

When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages.

You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with what you want them to do. You must first communicate why it’s important.

Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of why they do what they do and why people should care. Only then will you inspire your people to attain sustainable success.

Leaders are the stewards of organizational energy. They recruit, direct, channel, renew, focus and invest energy from all the individual contributors in the service of the corporate mission. The energy of each individual contributor in the corporation must be actively recruited. This requires aligning individual and organizational purpose. ~ Authors James Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

I challenge you to think long and hard about both your personal sense of purpose, and your organization's purpose where you work. Do you see ways of aligning them?

It certainly takes work to think through these concepts. The reward is a self-renewing source of energy for you and your team. The invitation into the spiritual realm takes the thinking to a whole new level.

Embrace the challenge of finding your pathway to energy and renewing the enthusiasm you probably felt in the early days on the job. If you struggle with finding purpose, I suggest getting a good coach who can help you find more fulfillment and meaning in how you spend your days.

Let me know if I can help.

Want to Inspire? Start with WHY!

When a mission statement is well written, it serves as a declaration of purpose. But corporate mission statements are often little more than a descriptive sentence about products, aspirations or desired public perceptions. They’re more powerful when they clearly and specifically articulate the difference your business strives to make in the world.  Looking at mission statements is a great way to start your journey.  Here's an example from Roy Spence's book   It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For:    Consider this mission statement by a large grocery chain: " Our goal is to be the first choice for those customers who have the opportunity to shop locally in [our stores]. To achieve this goal [we] aim to be best at fresh, best at availability, best at customer service, best at product and price ."  It's a long list of what the company will be best at, but nothing about customers, employees, communities or society. Compare that with another food chain's mission statement:  " To help consumers find foods that offer more nutrition for the calories as they make choices in each department of our stores, thereby helping food shoppers make healthier choices. "  Which statement do you find more engaging? If your mission statement isn't compelling and engaging, you can't expect employees to care, can you?  Leaders who want to succeed should straightforwardly communicate what they believe in and why they’re so passionate about their cause, according to business consultant  Simon Sinek , author of   Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action   (Portfolio, 2010).  Most people know  what  they do and  how  they do it, Sinek says, but few communicate  why  they’re doing it.  “People don’t buy  what  you do; they buy into  why  you do it,” he emphasizes.  If you don’t know and cannot communicate  why  you take specific actions, how can you expect employees to become loyal followers who support your mission?   The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.  ~  James Baldwin , author  I have found that there are great tools and prompts to help moving your thinking forward. A favorite tool that I use is  The One Page Business Plan  which offers a process and prompts to move leaders forward as they lean into the power of why for themselves and those they lead.  I'd love to hear from you: what's been your experience with the mission statements of the companies you've worked for?

When a mission statement is well written, it serves as a declaration of purpose. But corporate mission statements are often little more than a descriptive sentence about products, aspirations or desired public perceptions. They’re more powerful when they clearly and specifically articulate the difference your business strives to make in the world.

Looking at mission statements is a great way to start your journey.

Here's an example from Roy Spence's book It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For:

Consider this mission statement by a large grocery chain: "Our goal is to be the first choice for those customers who have the opportunity to shop locally in [our stores]. To achieve this goal [we] aim to be best at fresh, best at availability, best at customer service, best at product and price."

It's a long list of what the company will be best at, but nothing about customers, employees, communities or society. Compare that with another food chain's mission statement:

"To help consumers find foods that offer more nutrition for the calories as they make choices in each department of our stores, thereby helping food shoppers make healthier choices."

Which statement do you find more engaging? If your mission statement isn't compelling and engaging, you can't expect employees to care, can you?

Leaders who want to succeed should straightforwardly communicate what they believe in and why they’re so passionate about their cause, according to business consultant Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Portfolio, 2010).

Most people know what they do and how they do it, Sinek says, but few communicate why they’re doing it.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy into why you do it,” he emphasizes.

If you don’t know and cannot communicate why you take specific actions, how can you expect employees to become loyal followers who support your mission?

The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. ~ James Baldwin, author

I have found that there are great tools and prompts to help moving your thinking forward. A favorite tool that I use is The One Page Business Plan which offers a process and prompts to move leaders forward as they lean into the power of why for themselves and those they lead.

I'd love to hear from you: what's been your experience with the mission statements of the companies you've worked for?

Finding a Business Purpose - Remember God!

The more I speak with people ( coach4ldrs.com ) working hard in organizations, the less I see a "9 to 5" mentality. As work evolves in the 21st century, separating our professional and personal lives proves to be an artificial divide. Your personal purpose influences your work purpose, and vice versa. The opportunity to connect how you were made and the work that you do may reveal new exciting vistas of meaning.  A company’s purpose ( Why Am I Here? ) starts with its leaders and works its way through the organization. It shows up in products, services, and employee and customer experiences. It shows up in relationships with stakeholders: employees, customers, vendors, investors and more. The mindset of you were made to work and finding that work with an eternal perspective is the doorway to freedom and joy.  An inspirational purpose often lies hidden within an organization. The following suggestions will help you identify and articulate key elements:  1. Revisit your organization’s heritage (past history). Review your personal journey  2. Review successes. At what does the business excel?  3. Start asking “why?”  4. What won’t your organization do? Review false starts and failures.  5. Talk to employees.  6. Talk to top leaders.  7. Talk to high performers.  8. Talk to customers.  9. Follow your heart.  10. Explore  Bigger Purpose Ideas –  Why does God have you here?   Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your calling.  ~ Aristotle  A purpose is informed by the world’s needs. When you build an organization with a concrete purpose in mind — one that fills a real need in the marketplace — performance will follow.  Ask the following questions:  · Why does your organization do what it does?  · Why is this important to the people you serve?  · Why does your organization’s existence matter?  · What is its functional benefit to customers and constituents?  · What is the emotional benefit to them?  · What is the ultimate value to your customer?  · What are you deeply passionate about?  · At what can you excel?  · What drives your economic engine?  · Explore how excellence reflects you and your creator  · Explore relational opportunities created by your organization   Mission statements used to have a purpose. The purpose was to force management to make hard decisions about what the company stood for. A hard decision means giving up one thing to get another.  ~  Seth Godin , marketing expert

The more I speak with people (coach4ldrs.com) working hard in organizations, the less I see a "9 to 5" mentality. As work evolves in the 21st century, separating our professional and personal lives proves to be an artificial divide. Your personal purpose influences your work purpose, and vice versa. The opportunity to connect how you were made and the work that you do may reveal new exciting vistas of meaning.

A company’s purpose (Why Am I Here?) starts with its leaders and works its way through the organization. It shows up in products, services, and employee and customer experiences. It shows up in relationships with stakeholders: employees, customers, vendors, investors and more. The mindset of you were made to work and finding that work with an eternal perspective is the doorway to freedom and joy.

An inspirational purpose often lies hidden within an organization. The following suggestions will help you identify and articulate key elements:

1. Revisit your organization’s heritage (past history). Review your personal journey

2. Review successes. At what does the business excel?

3. Start asking “why?”

4. What won’t your organization do? Review false starts and failures.

5. Talk to employees.

6. Talk to top leaders.

7. Talk to high performers.

8. Talk to customers.

9. Follow your heart.

10. Explore Bigger Purpose Ideas – Why does God have you here?

Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your calling. ~ Aristotle

A purpose is informed by the world’s needs. When you build an organization with a concrete purpose in mind — one that fills a real need in the marketplace — performance will follow.

Ask the following questions:

· Why does your organization do what it does?

· Why is this important to the people you serve?

· Why does your organization’s existence matter?

· What is its functional benefit to customers and constituents?

· What is the emotional benefit to them?

· What is the ultimate value to your customer?

· What are you deeply passionate about?

· At what can you excel?

· What drives your economic engine?

· Explore how excellence reflects you and your creator

· Explore relational opportunities created by your organization

Mission statements used to have a purpose. The purpose was to force management to make hard decisions about what the company stood for. A hard decision means giving up one thing to get another. ~ Seth Godin, marketing expert

God - Give me Energy and Creative Flow

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Having a purpose provides context for all of one’s efforts, and it’s a chief criterion for “flow”—the energy state that occurs when one’s mind, body and entire being are committed to the task at hand. Flow turns mundane work into completely absorbing experiences, allowing us to push the limits of skills and talents.

Flow and commitment also create healthier, happier employees, while driving innovative thinking. To tap into full engagement, leaders must clearly identify and articulate what truly matters to the company:

·       Why are we in business?

·       What difference do we want to make in the world?

·       What’s our most important purpose?

On some level, everyone wants to live a purposeful life, yet we are distracted by societal pressures to achieve wealth and prestige. There are indications, however, that this is changing. Just as GNP fails to reflect the well-being and satisfaction of a country’s citizens, a person’s net worth actually has little to do with personal fulfillment.

It is difficult to impossible to truly inspire the creators of customer happiness — the employees —  with the ethic of profit maximization…It is my experience that employees can get very excited and inspired by a business that has an important business purpose. ~ John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market

Leadership starts on a personal level and permeates one’s function in a company, community and society. While countless books address the importance of finding personal purpose, how does it play out within an organizational context? How do you link your personal purpose and values to those of your company?

The thinking around purpose is energized when centered in a Christian context. As believers we are certain there is an eternal meaning in all we do, which of course includes our work. Remember the classic Your Work Matters to God. When we allow ourselves to see our work with and eternal perspective the possibilities are endless.

It may seem that parts of your job are mundane and insignificant. Perhaps your organization hasn't articulated their purpose, vision and values clearly enough. Perhaps you have yet to articulate your own. I see this happen frequently in the organizations where I'm called on to contribute workshops or coaching (coach4ldrs.com)

What's been your experience? I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment.

Is Your Work Fulfilling?

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In a company without purpose, people have only a vague idea of what they’re supposed to do. There’s always activity and busyness, but it’s often frenetic, disorganized and focused solely on short-term goals. There’s a lack of direction and commitment to purpose (Why Are You Here blog)

Top executives erroneously look to the competition when making decisions, rather than making up their own minds about what really matters. This lack of clarity leads to poor business decisions and failed product launches. Employees who work without purpose experience the consequences.

“Across organizations, nearly every survey suggests that the vast majority of employees don’t feel fully engaged at work, valued for their contributions, or freed and trusted to do what they do best,” reports Tony Schwartz in a recent  HBR.org blog post. “Instead, they feel weighed down by multiple demands and distractions, and they often don’t derive much meaning or satisfaction from their work. That’s a tragedy for millions of people and a huge lost opportunity for organizations.”

Lack of Full Engagement

Put simply, satisfied and engaged employees perform better. In a Towers Watson study of roughly 90,000 employees across 18 countries, companies with the most engaged employees reported a 19% increase in operating income and 28% growth in earnings per share. Companies whose employees had the lowest level of engagement had a 32% decline in operating income and an 11% drop in earnings.

People enjoy being engaged in meaningful work (Meaning Vs Happiness – Fast Company) Humans, by nature, are a passionate species, and most of us seek out stimulating experiences. Companies that recognize this and actively cultivate and communicate a worthwhile corporate purpose become employers of choice.

A major Gallup Organization research study identified 12 critical elements for creating highly engaged employees. About half deal with employees’ sense of belonging. One of the key criteria is captured in the following statement: “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.” (TED Talk – Simon Sinek “Start With Why) After basic needs are fulfilled, an employee searches for meaning in a job. People seek a higher purpose, something in which to believe. If, in your role as a leader, you aren’t articulating what you care about and how you plan to make a difference, then you probably aren’t inspiring full engagement. This holds true for you as a leader as well. Anchoring your WHY for you as the leader will ignite your passion.

In the work I do (Coach4ldrs.com) this is a major concern for people: they either aren't sure what it is that their own true purpose is, or they are not sure what their organization's is. Coaching is designed to help people find the connection between job requirements and fulfillment and meaning. I call this your DECLARATION. What are you passionate about that will motivate you to change for your best? This is a process that creates great momentum in life and work.

If you aren't clear, ask your coach for help in finding answers. And if you need help in finding the right coach, let me know.

Why Are You Here - Connecting to What Truly Matters

Knowing why you’re here, and who you want to be, isn’t a part-time job. The challenge is to live out what you stand for, intentionally, in every moment.  ~  Tony Schwartz , author  Far from being touchy-feely concepts touted by motivational speakers, purpose and values have been identified as key drivers of high-performing organizations.  · In   Built to Last   ,  James Collins and Jerry Porras reveal that purpose- and values-driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively.  · In   Corporate Culture and Performance,     Harvard professors John Kotter and James Heskett found that firms with shared-values–based cultures enjoyed 400% higher revenues, 700% greater job growth, 1,200% higher stock prices and significantly faster profit performance, as compared to companies in similar industries.  · In   Firms of Endearment ,  marketing professor Rajendra Sisodia and his coauthors explain how companies that put employees’ and customers’ needs ahead of shareholders’ desires outperform conventional competitors in stock-market performance by 8:1.  Leaders who have a clearly articulated purpose and are driven to make a difference can inspire people to overcome insurmountable odds, writes Roy M. Spence Jr.  in  It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For.    “Life is short, so live it out doing something that you care about,” he writes. “Try to make a difference the best way you can. There’s an enormous satisfaction in seeing the cultural transformation that happens when an organization is turned on to purpose.”  This author makes some very good points backed up with real examples of some of the most effective companies in the world. In the work I do with people in organizations, so often I find that there's confusion over what's really important.  While a well-designed strategy and its effective implementation are required for business success ( coach4ldrs.com ), neither inspires followers to maintain engagement during troubled times. Purpose must tap into people’s hearts and help them give their best when the chips are down.   Don’t ever take a job— join a crusade! Find a cause that you can believe in and give yourself to it completely . ~ Colleen Barrett, president emerita of Southwest Airlines  It's up to leaders to find that spark that can light up the hearts and minds of employees at all levels. And, it's also up to each of us to find that inner purpose that's the guiding light for our energy. Purpose is an energy source that sustains us through and motivates us forward. Coaching ( coach4ldrs.com ) can help find it if you haven't already identified and articulated it for yourself. Remember God made you for a purpose. Our journey is seeking that with Him.

Knowing why you’re here, and who you want to be, isn’t a part-time job. The challenge is to live out what you stand for, intentionally, in every moment. ~ Tony Schwartz, author

Far from being touchy-feely concepts touted by motivational speakers, purpose and values have been identified as key drivers of high-performing organizations.

· In Built to Last, James Collins and Jerry Porras reveal that purpose- and values-driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively.

· In Corporate Culture and Performance, Harvard professors John Kotter and James Heskett found that firms with shared-values–based cultures enjoyed 400% higher revenues, 700% greater job growth, 1,200% higher stock prices and significantly faster profit performance, as compared to companies in similar industries.

· In Firms of Endearment, marketing professor Rajendra Sisodia and his coauthors explain how companies that put employees’ and customers’ needs ahead of shareholders’ desires outperform conventional competitors in stock-market performance by 8:1.

Leaders who have a clearly articulated purpose and are driven to make a difference can inspire people to overcome insurmountable odds, writes Roy M. Spence Jr. in It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For.

“Life is short, so live it out doing something that you care about,” he writes. “Try to make a difference the best way you can. There’s an enormous satisfaction in seeing the cultural transformation that happens when an organization is turned on to purpose.”

This author makes some very good points backed up with real examples of some of the most effective companies in the world. In the work I do with people in organizations, so often I find that there's confusion over what's really important.

While a well-designed strategy and its effective implementation are required for business success (coach4ldrs.com), neither inspires followers to maintain engagement during troubled times. Purpose must tap into people’s hearts and help them give their best when the chips are down.

Don’t ever take a job— join a crusade! Find a cause that you can believe in and give yourself to it completely. ~ Colleen Barrett, president emerita of Southwest Airlines

It's up to leaders to find that spark that can light up the hearts and minds of employees at all levels. And, it's also up to each of us to find that inner purpose that's the guiding light for our energy. Purpose is an energy source that sustains us through and motivates us forward. Coaching (coach4ldrs.com) can help find it if you haven't already identified and articulated it for yourself. Remember God made you for a purpose. Our journey is seeking that with Him.