Why building a culture of purpose might be the most important thing you do as a leader.
Creating a strong sense of purpose will drive your company's growth. I see this exemplified each and every day.
Case in point:
I was on a call the other day when my colleague, Nikki, walked in and confidently held up a sticky note with a number written on it. Nikki is in charge of coordinating orders, packaging and sending out our product--thinking & behaving profiles--to our clients around the world. Her energy said it all, and I didn't even have to read the number on the paper to know that we'd broken our company record for Profiles in a month. She gave a huge smile, pumped her fist, and walked out without saying a word.
The whole episode took all of 10 seconds, but absolutely spoke volumes to me about the state of our company. The number Nikki held up told me that we grew last month; the pride and purpose she displayed while doing it told me that we will continue to grow well into the future.
Nikki's pride in the company's success exemplifies what we're all about. We're a tight knit group of 50 or so, working every day toward the greater advancement of the organization. That means satisfying clients, creating new business, making our product better. We work with the company's success and values in mind.
This culture of purpose is primarily responsible for our growth. In fact, the recent Deloitte Core Beliefs and Culture Survey found that 82% of those who work for organizations with a strong sense of purpose believe their company will grow this year. There is no doubt we're seeing the benefits of that belief.
But it's too simplistic to imply that there's a "purpose switch" that can be flipped to suddenly produce results. It has taken a focused effort to get to where we are today.
A core part of our business is helping clients put the right people in the right jobs so that they are in position to make meaningful contributions to the company. In fact, author Dan Pink contends that it is this--working with purpose and impacting the greater good- that is the top motivator of employees, not money or vacation time.
So, we'd be crazy if we were not making sure that each one of our team members is in a job that not only suits their talents, but also gives them a clear idea of how their contribution is making an impact. For us, there's no better way to create purpose for each individual than to build it into our strategic plan.
We have short and long term growth targets and financial goals like any other company. But rather than dictating a broad strategic plan to meet those goals, we ask for individual input, and then tailor the plan with the specific thinking attributes of our staff.
We want our social minds to see why their people skills will be important. We expect our conceptual thinkers to keep the company on its toes, and always be searching for alternatives and new ideas. We show our analytical thinkers where their logical and reasoned approach will come into play. The structural minds in our office probably appreciate this approach the most, as it allows them to create a step-by-step roadmap to the goal. Because we do this, everyone knows exactly how their contribution fits within the company's vision.
We also tailor our interactions around a spectrum of behavioral attributes. For example, I know that some of my team members are hard drivers and are energized by competition and debate. With them, creating a sense of purpose can be in the form of a challenge. But I also know that there are some team members who are more peacekeepers. They desire peaceful interactions and appreciate group consensus more than maintaining their own positions. As a leader, my role is to ensure that all parts of the behavioral spectrums are addressed so that every person is set up for success.
I admit, it's impossible to quantify exactly what a culture of purpose might bring to an organization. But when employees are motivated by meaningful work and can see how their thinking and behavioral contributions matter, they not only excel at their jobs--they stay, which helps drive high standards of sustainable performance.