Most often, when we think of an organization’s reason for being, we often first think of making money. While it is true that the goal of any business is to make money, there is a much deeper fundamental reason for its creation, a core purpose. This is the “heart” of the organization - the reason for existence. Core purpose motivates the head and speaks to the heart - it allows people to make a difference by rallying together to accomplish a goal they might not be able to achieve individually. And it sets the tone for a mediocre or stellar performance.
Consider the story of three men laying bricks. When asked what they are doing, the first person simply replied “laying bricks”. When the second was asked the same question, the reply was “building a wall”. When the third laborer was asked the question, he replied “building a cathedral.” He had purpose. How much more likely is it that the quality and output of the last individual's contribution is significantly greater than the first?
You can build a crusade around your core purpose. Steve Jobs defined Apple’s core purpose and it was not to build a great Mac or iPhone. It was to put a dent in the Universe.
So, how do you accomplish a crusade?
- By igniting passion within the organization. Teaching and preaching purpose by creating a vision of the outcome. Why are we really here? What are we really doing? What is the big picture?
- Through helping every person in your organization connect what they do to your core purpose. Give them a reason to feel passionate about the organization and the role they play within it.
- Make key decisions that support your core purpose. In other words, practice what you preach. Set the example of what your organization stands for – live it every day.
- Stay focused and aligned to your purpose. With each decision, ask if the move you are about to make aligns to your purpose.