[email protected] 2 - Foundation #1: Our Purpose

The very first Foundation of a Healthy Business is the Purpose. It is our WHY. Some may interchange the words Mission or Vision for Purpose.  I believe that Mission and Purpose are essentially the same thing, but I suffered through too many “Mission Statements” that I still have an aversion to the word! 

I describe our Purpose as the entire reason for our existence. It is permanent.  Whereas our Vision isn’t, it should change every few years. It is the criteria by which we measure everything we do; it is our guiding light, not our destination. The wisemen were following the star to get to the world’s most famous birthday party; they were never trying to get to the star.  Our Purpose defines our contribution and our impact.  

It is not to serve as an office trophy hanging on a wall as a semi-inspirational piece of art.  It is to provide a very clear picture of WHY we do what we do and to be alive in the hearts and minds of the entire team.  Such that if we asked everyone on the team what the Purpose of our business is they would all respond with the same words every time.  It is the reason we get out of bed every morning. 

The Purpose of the Groove Enhancers Leadership Academy

To provide world-class training in the art and science of business leadership and love (our contribution) so that together we can ignite change in the perception and influence of businesses around the world (our impact).

Can you identify each company by their Purpose?   ( Answers Below* )

  1. To ignite in all people the passion for learning
  2. To make technical contributions for the advancement of science and welfare of humanity
  3. To experience the sheer joy of innovation and the application of technology for the benefit and pleasure of the general public

I have been involved with businesses that literally had no purpose, other than to make the owners more money.  Which then creates a dark culture where the team is only showing up for a paycheck. I have also been involved in others that maybe didn’t have the wordsmithing totally dialed in but the spirit of their Purpose was alive and the teams were thriving. 

To get a realistic sense of how solid your fundamental Purpose is, randomly ask members of your team “What’s the Purpose of our business.”  You may be surprised by what you hear. I believe that there are very tangible signs that reflect the strength of each Foundation and how that impacts the team. How healthy is your Purpose? 

Signs your Purpose is Alive and Healthy

  • Team has a sense of safety and belonging
  • Clear which problems we are solving
  • Confidence we are doing the right thing
  • Deep sense of fulfillment
  • Belief this is a higher calling, not just a job
  • We really are making a difference

Signs your Purpose is Sick & Dying

  • A sense of isolation and insecurity
  • Culture of fear and anxiety
  • Feelings of vulnerability and worry
  • Depression evident in team
  • Sense of disconnection to each other
  • Overall lack of trust

How does your Purpose stand up to the 10 point test?

  1. Is it uniquely yours?
  2. Does it resonate at the deepest part of your soul?
  3. Will your team be proud describing it to their Grandkids?
  4. Does it have enough inspiration and clarity to help you determine what things to NOT do or STOP doing or even considering?
  5. Is it enough to get you out of bed every morning?
  6. If you hit the Powerball would you still pursue your Purpose?
  7. Would you invest the winnings in your business?
  8. Can you imagine that it will be as compelling in 100 years?
  9. Would you walk away from an investor or potential partner if it caused you to act contrary to your Purpose?
  10. Would you give up a potential sales opportunity or customer if it caused you to act contrary to your Purpose?

If your Purpose does not pass the Test – you decide what a passing grade should be – then it’s time to Discover Your Purpose, or perhaps rediscover it. The following process is a great place to start:

  1. Assemble your team, this is best done together.
  2. First identify your WHAT:  "We make X products or deliver Y services".
  3. Write it up for everyone to see
  4. Ask "WHY is our WHAT important"? Ask "WHY" again up to 5 times.
  5. Evaluate what resonates most with the team and generates the most passion?
  6. You now have a solid DRAFT of your real Purpose.   Let it Rest…
  7. Post it after a few weeks or longer and turn your DRAFT into a FINAL "We do X–so that Y."  Your contribution and your impact. 

Then make it come alive by referring to it often, in team meetings, during the hiring process, performance reviews, etc. The more you can engage your team in the process, the better and the more vibrant your culture will be.  Starting an honest inspection of this very first foundation is critical as the rest of the business can never be stronger than its foundation! 


* Answers

  1. The Teaching Company
  2. Hewlett Packard
  3. Sony

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