As a Rhythm Coach, I’ve seen many Core Purposes come and go. Some would knock your socks off. Others I’ve already forgotten. While on a recent call with one of my CEOs, he said, “You’ve been on me about Core Purpose for four years and I finally got it!”
To protect the guilty and the innocent (as Patrick says), I won’t use a company name. I will say they do amazing things that improve people’s lives dramatically. Their clients love them and the product/service they provide.
When they first started working on their One Page Strategic Plan, they stated that their Core Purpose was “Making a Mark in Our Industry.”
Think about that in the context of the 7 Questions to Test Your Core Purpose:
1. Do you find this purpose personally inspiring, and does it make you feel proud of your company? (yes!)
2. Can you envision this purpose being as valid 100 years from now as it is today? (yes!)
3. Does this purpose help you decide which opportunities and activities to say YES to and which ones to say NO to? (yes!)
4. Is this purpose authentic (not merely words on paper that “sound nice”), and would it be greeted with enthusiasm rather than cynicism by your people? (yes!)
5. Does it describe your products, services, or customer segment? (no – that’s Brand Promise!)
6. Is it only about making money? (no – those are targets!)
7. Is it about achieving specific long-term business goals? (no– that’s a BHAG!)
“Making a Mark in Our Industry” doesn’t really fit, does it? Not only that, but in hindsight, the CEO shared with me that it never really passed the Hallway Test. In other words, you couldn’t walk out into the hallway, ask the random person at the water fountain why they come to work everyday, and get this answer – “to make a mark in our industry.” It didn’t resonate with the people, and it didn’t roll off the tongue.
In a recent Think Rhythm, the team spent some time working on their Core Purpose and made a change…
“Improving the student learning experience”
The heavens opened, violins played and they started feeling a difference immediately. It spoke to everyone - from the product developers to the warehouse. It captured their passion and helped guide decision-making. It truly was what they were there to do everyday.
After the change, the CEO noticed the Core Purpose was starting to shape employee actions. He happened to be in the warehouse where an employee was packing a box for shipment to a student. He asked the question: “Does the way we do this improve the student learning experience?” The employee thought about it, answered – and a big improvement was made on the front line.
So while it took a few years to get it right, the impact of having the right Core Purpose in place is paying huge dividends: happier clients, engaged and thinking employees, efficiencies internally and an extremely high retention rate.
So, what’s your Core Purpose? Does it pass the test? If not, set up a Think Rhythm to find the one that will inspire your people and improve your business. You'll find some great Core Purpose Examples in this article.
For more on Core Purpose Statement Examples, check out these additional resources: