To transform your company into a purpose-driven business, you need to become a purpose-driven leader. A purpose-driven company aligns its business goals to an external goal or mission. Success and purpose live hand-in-hand for these businesses, which tend to experience faster growth, enjoy greater camaraderie, and deliver better customer experiences.
A company’s purpose has to be authentic to its leader, the person who will nurture and sustain that purpose as it disseminates throughout a team or organization. Defining your leadership purpose can also help you become a better leader. Purpose-driven leaders exhibit characteristics such as self-awareness, flexibility, confidence, and innovation.
This year, we are on a mission to help as many business leaders as possible transform their business into something MORE—a vehicle for personal fulfillment, community outreach, philanthropy, civic action, WHATEVER your purpose is.
It starts by finding your leadership purpose.
Finding Your Leadership Purpose
When pressed to define their purpose, many executives and business leaders will say something akin to, “To ensure my team’s success” or “To best activate strategies that result in achieving our planned objectives and goals.”
Those are NOT your purpose. They are important aspects of the role, but they are not WHY you get up in the morning and go to work. This is especially true if you are the owner of a small business. You didn’t decide one day, “I’m going to start a textile manufacturing company so I can achieve planned objectives.”
You also didn’t start your business just to make money. You did it for something BIGGER than that. To feed your family, to make your parents proud, to stay out of trouble, to offer a better product to customers or a better work environment for your employees. Start here. WHY you started your business is a great place to mine for leadership purpose. If you fell into your business on accident or by circumstance then why did you stay in it?
Now, what about that “Why” energized you enough to go through the challenges of starting and running a small business? What fed your fire, kept you going when times got tough? Was it offering a job to people who deserved a second chance? Was it watching your kids’ college fund steadily growing? Or was it opportunities to clean up and beautify neighborhoods in your small town?
These exercises will help you get to the heart of your purpose as a business leader.
Create a Purpose-Driven Leader Statement
There is an undeniable psychological impact to writing something down. When you know your leadership purpose, give it the weight it deserves by writing it down. Don’t smother your leadership purpose in business-speak. This isn’t a company Mission Statement; this is your Leadership Manifesto.
According to Harvard Business Review, Dolf van den Brink, the CEO of Heineken USA, declared his purpose statement as: To be the wuxia master who saves the kingdom.
He’s a big kung fu movie fan. He is also a fan of taking action in high-risk situations. This kind of dramatic purpose statement feeds your energy to do the hard work your role requires, whether that is the risk-taking action hero or the wise, diplomatic team-builder.
After you have written your purpose statement, describe how that purpose will help your company succeed. Set goals that utilize your purpose and move your company forward. Having a roadmap will help you harness the power of your purpose and transform it into meaningful action.
Now you know your value as a purpose-driven leader in your organization. The next step is to expand that purpose into an Organizational Purpose Statement. More on that soon!
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