Why have and why share your business purpose

Why is Business on purpose and with purpose so important?

Because it creates a fundamentally happier and more profitable place to work and is the cornerstone of a sustainable business according to Jonathan Porritt of Forum for the Future.

The role of a leader and business owner is to win hearts and create the culture that will enable a business to succeed in today’s increasingly .fast paced and competitive world.

Having a purpose shared with your team (even if you are a team of only one or two) is the foundation of an energising and enabling culture.

Imagine you work for a bus company and you’re a school bus driver.  Every day you drive the same route to and from school with a bus load of noisy, sometimes obnoxious kids.  The company has no vision or purpose, at least none that’s been shared with you.  Your job also has no particular purpose ascribed to it and you feel you’re just there to help your boss make a lot of money.  How do you think you feel about it?  Would you be inspired, would you want to contribute, would you speak up if you saw something that could be improved?  Would you even be interested in anything to do with the company?  I somehow doubt it.  I suspect you’d just show up and do the minimum that was required to get your money.

Now imagine the same business but it’s purpose is shared with you.  It’s purpose is described as “Helping people travel safely, happily and affordably” or something similar.   You still drive the same school bus with the same noisy kids, but you understand that your job is to get those kids to school safely and happily so that they can have a productive day of learning at school.  How different that job is! 

How differently would the kids respond to you when they know you care about them having a great day at school!  

Why is Business on purpose and with purpose so important?I know the difference this can make to school kids – my sons told me what it was like having a bus driver who was rude, uncaring and yelled at them.  They told me how that felt.  They hated it and didn’t want to go to school.  It made them agro before they arrived at the gates and it also meant they responded by being more obnoxious on the bus.  They begged me to drive them to school so they didn’t have to deal with it.  They also told me what it felt like when they got a new driver who at least smiled at them and sometimes asked if they had had a good weekend.

Let’s broaden the picture a bit.  Think about yourself as the business owner.  How much easier would it be to find drivers when the job you were offering was ‘helping people travel safely, happily and affordably”, doing your bit to make our city a better place to live and work.  How much easier is it to run the company when everyone is aligned with a shared purpose that they see is making a real difference to their world.  How much more energy people would bring to work?  How much longer would your staff stay?  How much happier the workplace would be!

Frustration, a sense of not being valued or cared about leads to not caring in return.  Not caring about how well you do your work, leads to mistakes.  Mistakes lead to re-work and having to re-do work is probably the most significant cause of profit loss.  What this might look like in a bus company is not reporting when you notice changes in the engine or doors that stick or any number of small things fixed before they become major problems.

What is might also look like is fewer passengers – that would mean less income and potentially less profit.

Think about the bus driver.  How much more satisfying is driving the bus?  How much more rewarding to get smiles and thank yous from the kids?  How much more would you care?  And at the end of the work day do you think that driver would go home feeling good about himself, his day’s work and his contribution?

That’s a very simple example but the same principle can be applied to every business.  Finding the purpose behind a business isn’t complicated. I believe most small businesses do have a purpose – a reason the owner not only went into business, but in particular this business.  It’s a process and takes 30 -40 minutes or less.  If you’d like to talk to me about how I do it just drop me a line bridget@creatingwhatmatters.co.nz

Every business will discover amazing, measurable benefits that improve the bottom line by knowing and sharing it’s purpose.

Creating fulfilling workplaces is why I do what I do.  Why do I care passionately about creating fulfilling workplaces?  New Zealand has some of the highest rates of family violence in the western world, and the highest rate of violence towards children.  I know that when I had a bad day at work, I took that energy home with me.  I know that I carried home the stress of bad days many many times when my children were young.  It made me short tempered, less kind and a lot less loving.  It wasn’t any fun for the boys.  I know because they have told me.  They have told me they used to be afraid because they could see anger in my face.   Now I didn’t hit them, but they were afraid of me – how sad is that?  And how I wish I could change it for them. I can’t.

But  I can do something about it for others.

That’s my purpose, that why I do what I do.  I dislike intensely all forms of violence.  I believe that unfulfilling, unrewarding and unhappy workplaces are the cause of much family violence and violence against children.  Anger, that is often unexpressed and un-named carried home from work; sometimes exacerbated by drugs or alcohol is taken out on the people they care most about – the family around them.  The frustration, the sense of not being valued or cared about creates a feeling of helplessness against which people last out.

I want workplaces to be rewarding, fulfilling, satisfying even joyful because I know it would lead to a very significant reduction in family violence and violence against our most vulnerable, our children.

Here’s just a few of the ways having a shared purpose leads to a more profitable business:

  • less employee churn – people stay longer
  • fewer sick days because people want to show up
  • less re-work because staff take more care
  • more energised and committed team members are more productive
  • happier staff are more productive
  • finding new staff is less costly because it takes less time  – people want to work for a purpose not just to make money
  • happier people bring in more customers
  • marketing is more pull than push
  • strategic alliances and partnering is easier
  • it’s more rewarding and fulfilling for you

If you think of another reason that I have not mentioned please email me bridget@creatingwhatmatters.co.nz

2015 Global Deloitte Study says: Leaders must make culture and engagement as important as productivity. Culture needs to be measured, monitored and rewarded, just like performance is.  So what will you do this month to increase the culture and engagement in your business?


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