Purpose: Purpose is the destination we choose from a sea of possibilities.
The purpose of your business is NOT to maximize shareholder value. Yes, of course that’s one of the things businesses do, but purpose is something grander, something more meaningful, something more impactful. Used effectively, purpose also drives business results.
Let’s look at a non-business example. When your daughter has a performance in elementary school, you can go because you have to, and you can suffer through the bad acting and the missed cues and the fact that you’re needed at work or that you’re missing a golf game. Alternatively, you can connect to what matters to you in life, to your own purpose, and you can recognize that when that performance is over, what matters to your daughter is that you were there, that she was seen by her parents. How will your experience be different in these two scenarios?
Now let’s shift to business. Let’s take Starbucks, for example. There are tons of coffee shops, aren’t there? What gave Starbucks the audacity to begin charging a premium for what seemed like just a “cuppa joe” before that? Purpose. Their purpose is to provide escape, to be the third place (after home and work) in our lives. With that purpose, it makes sense that they created a whole new language you have to learn in order to order (e.g. Decaf Double tall non-fat extra-dry cappuccino).
By the way, note that you can never achieve your purpose. It’s not a goal to be accomplished. It’s a direction, an aspiration, a guiding light. You can and should also have goals, even lofty, inspirational goals, that can be accomplished and celebrated, but purpose is more abstract than that.
Purpose is why we get out of bed in the morning, to the extent we’re not simply dragging ourselves.
My purpose is love, even in business. When mid-market businesses are growing, compensation is growing for owners and employees alike. Customers and suppliers are all better off, and these growing resources are available for families and communities. Kids in that environment can grow up knowing that they are loved. Adults get to spend time and energy on what they love, family, hobbies, making an impact, etc.
How does this play out with my clients? Well, long before we can talk about quarterly priorities, I’ll be asking about the future and your purpose, and I’ll keep coming back to that vision over and over again. No obstacle is insurmountable with the proper perspective, so I’ll bring you back to purpose and why over and over.
From purpose, you can accomplish anything.