Purpose, Vision, Missions, and Values (PVMV): These are the keys to clarity of strategy to inform planning and business model building. As important as strategy is to the wealth creation process, the person leading and implementing strategy matters more.
Having pioneered the purpose conversation since the late 1980s, I’m delighted to finally see the big consulting firms and business schools embracing the power of purpose for companies and “employees.” Nevertheless, The On-Purpose Approach remains the clearest, most meaningful, and holistic approach to blending life and work.
Distinctive to an On-Purpose® corporate purpose statement is the setup and use of a 2-word purpose. “We exist to serve by (insert 2-word purpose)” is layered in nuance and sophistication while remaining steadfastly memorable and practical. Purpose is a service-first ideal that’s naturally inclusive of the business model (wealth creation). To instill and install purpose throughout the organization, however, requires intention, creativity, and dedication.
The essential connection between purpose and people (team members, vendors, customers, the public) is now alluded to more often in the writings of the likes of Gallup, PwC, and McKinsey in concept, but not in practice. At On-Purpose Partners, my company, we’ve been putting purpose into practice for decades.
For example, this article in Strategy+Business makes a strong case for 5 ways to harness the power of purpose. I’m adding comments and point 6 — what’s most often overlooked. Respectfully, here are Sally Blount‘s and Paul Leinwand‘s five key points:
- Make creating your purpose a strategic exercise, not a communications exercise. Yes, and the PVMV along with your Strategic Story need to inform the communications and business plan per the Chief Leadership Officer Integrity Map (download a copy here: www.CLOnow.com).
- Focus on how you earn money, rather than how you spend it. Yes, this is one of the differences between a leader and a manager. Managers live within budgets, leaders think on the basis of ROI or better yet ROP (Return on Purpose).
- Identify your special power, and build your purpose around it. No. Purpose is your company’s special power — why the company exists and how it serves. Whereas a “special power” or “unique capability” is what you do or a mission. This invites the worst of Levitt’s Marketing Myopia because the purpose is defined by a mission or activity that one day may be obsolete. Then what?
- In multi-business-unit organizations, make sure purpose goes beyond a single unit. Yes and no. Purpose is the golden thread that unifies and dignifies people and their work. One purpose for all, not “purposes.”
- Boards need to do more to hold leaders accountable on the topic of purpose. Yes, especially the part about ESG — perhaps the greatest misrepresentation of purpose and values going. Same goes with DEI. When purpose is present, DEI is irrelevant because identity, not identifiers, unifies rather than divides.
As promised, here’s the vital ingredient the top-down strategists miss: a collaborative effect based on The On-Purpose Principle (see The On-Purpose Business Person). This principle states, “When the Purpose of the Person is aligned with the Purpose of the Organization, that’s the source of all energy and engagement.” This is my organizational development equivalent of Einstein’s E=MC2. It’s an elegant and meaningful clarification of a complex series of relationships.
How to create the alignment? That leads us to the most missing aspect in the purpose conversation happening today — Point 6.
6. Encourage every team member to state their personal purpose, vision, missions, and values. Here’s the spiritual DNA of personal leadership development with an internal (not North Star) guiding gyroscope. Team members will grasp the value and use of the parallel company strategic concepts of PVMV. Alignment begins. Work becomes meaningful. The disengaged will leave. Leaders are born. Management issues decline as personal responsibility grows. Others are attracted to work at the company. Stewardship of resources emerges. Service levels increase. Customers buy into what the company/brand represents.
Thanks to the ONPURPOSE.me online 2-word purpose discovery tool, every team member is less than five minutes from knowing their purpose in life. Add The Power of Being On-Purpose workshop and team members are less than a day from clarifying their visions, missions, and values and having a life plan in place. Even more importantly, they’ve gained a lifetime process of personal growth and improvement.
In short, many of the most pressing challenges facing corporations today can be resolved. But the dirty little secret is that the person occupying the corner office is mired in the profit-taking CEO-system of management. This incompletely right way of doing business treats people as inanimate “human resources” the CEOs are driving with purpose versus calling people to a workplace where meaningful expression of their purpose is possible.
The future leaders will be Chief Leadership Officers who clarify purpose (PVMV) and fully appreciate that all profit-making is earned through the well-being of people served on-purpose. This is a 180º turn from the CEO view of people as assets instead of flesh and bones with souls.
As the power of purpose remains a thought-leader discussion, why not actually get to it by finding your personal 2-word purpose at www.ONPURPOSE.me? Then, let’s talk about what it means to be on-purpose.
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