We, in the conscious business movement, have been realizing over the last few years that when businesses and leaders establish a deep-rooted purpose for their business, their business results are far often much better than before, and they significantly out-perform others in their competitive space (Firms of Endearment). The type of purpose I refer to here is what’s called a ‘people-centric’ purpose, one that makes the reason the organization exists for the benefit, advancement, or service to other groups of people. This differs radically from the typical historical reason most people believe businesses are created for – which is to ‘maximize profit’ for the shareholders.
The most distinctive measure we have hard data on – employee engagement – has been charted by The Gallup Organization for decades. It reveals that between 20-30% or all employees feel engaged at work in some significant way. That also means that 70-80% of all workers don’t feel they find where they work, who they work for, or what they do to be very motivating. Yet our default purpose for business, to make the company money, more money, as much money as possible, doesn’t really positively impact most of us. We do as much as we need to, and typically no more.
Think about it for a minute, if you are not the owner of a business, do you really wake up in the morning and think, “wow, I get to go to work and make my owner a lot of money today!” Unless you are financially rewarded to drive a bottom line, you just don’t really care about that as an exciting reason to go to work. This leaves the ownership and ‘managementship’ in a tough place – as the ones who have a payoff to focus on profits, they have to keep grinding on others to get stuff done so they can get stuff out the door, get paid, and hope there’s a profit left over. It’s been the recurring story of businesses all over the planet over the past 150 years.
A growing number of business leaders, and over the last 10 years a significant number of entrepreneurial start-ups, have come to a higher level of awareness that there are easier and much more effective ways to more fully engage the heads, hands and spirits of people they bring on board to get things done. These men and women realize a deeper reason they are in their business, or see other more meaningful purposes for the existence of their business (beyond making money). These purpose statements are directed at improving, enhancing, nourishing, assisting, serving, human beings. They are deeply meaningful to the owners and leaders, and they take that essence directly into the daily fabric of everyday decisions, hiring, employee development activities, problem-solving, idea creations, performance reviews and rewards programs.
These purpose-driven firms look for others who resonate over the same things they care about, and make for easier, long-lasting hires. These leaders help people find ways to connect their work and performance to the company’s purpose, and experience far fewer costly mistakes. People who go to work at companies with a purpose stay longer and are more self-enrolled – which impacts so many areas of the business in so many positive ways.
Make no mistake, money is not the negative here, it’s how we have been going at making it that needs to evolve.
If making money is important to you, and you own or are running a business from the top seat, and you’d like to have more joy and peace-of-mind while making that money, you need to expand your understanding of human nature and motivation. Step outside that box where your comfort zone has been hiding, and begin to re-think your business and your own motivations. Why did you begin to do what you do, besides just financial gain? What about your organization and the products/services it offers really positively impacts others? What life-affirming, life-enhancing, life-supporting do you really offer? What about your business, your work, really touches you deeply?
Begin to think about these questions. Invite others in your firm into those conversations. Look to answers that help with the questions, “Who are you, why do you exist, who do you help, and why?”
If you as a leader can make your deeper purpose known to others, you will attract like-minds, and they will become advocates, even zealots for your cause. The next level of success awaits you – significance is around the corner.
Are you ready to be significant? The world awaits those who come alive – is that you?