Recently, we’ve been increasingly hearing about organizations trying to re-evaluate, or even create, their purpose and looking for ways to embed it in the entirety of the organization. But what do we mean when we talk about purpose and why is it important?
Purpose is the raison d’etre, the key principles that drive happiness, creativity, and teamwork in an organization. It’s the WHY your business exists, the foundation for making the right decisions. The purpose explains how employees are making a difference, gives them a sense of meaning, and draws their support.
Being a purpose-driven company can lead to more engaged and motivated employees, more loyal customers, and better business outcomes. According to a study by Korn Ferry, companies with teams focused on purpose had 3x greater annual growth, and employees were 4x more productive. In addition, 53% of executives who said their company has a strong sense of purpose said their organization is successful with innovation and transformation efforts.
It’s clear that having a strong purpose is a ‘no brainer’. Nevertheless, as shown in a study conducted by Harvard Business Review and EY, even though 90% of executives considered having a strong purpose important, less than 50% had actually invested the time to create a purpose that drove decisions. So how can your organization align its purpose with its business activities and infuse it in all it does?
The first step is to think about the business you’re in and what drives you and your employees. Purposes need to be authentic and not just words. Coming up with a purpose often requires asking provocative questions, listening, and reflecting. It speaks to the core and the DNA of your organisation.
The next step is to compose a clear, comprehensive narrative around your purpose. The purpose must resonate with all levels of the organization and have a clear connection with day-to-day actions. Building an organization that truly lives its purpose takes more than just leadership at the top level. Culture here is crucial, as it is the vehicle into which purpose is embedded and the context for employee engagement.
Take the time every now and then to reflect on your why. Step back and check yourself in order to ensure that your daily routine hasn’t removed you from your purpose. Purpose-driven leaders inspire purpose-driven employees. So go ahead! Uncover your business’ unique purpose and discover your organization’s true potential.