There’s a lot of talk about ‘purpose’ these days - but what must business owners actually do to put it into practice and grow their bottom line? Here’s three pointers that will help you chart your course.
Linking Purpose to Profits
Global studies show that purpose is central to high performance and superior business valuations - and that gap widened during COVID.
Purpose is the promise you make to your customers about solving their problems and improving their lives. People want to know what you stand for and it becomes your guiding light when difficult decisions and trade-offs must be made.
It should inspire your employees and help you find new ways of delighting your customers.
One of my favourite purpose statements comes from Cochlear, “helping people hear and be heard”. It is beautifully crafted.
My own purpose is to help owners and managers “develop profitable businesses that improve the lives of people and the planet”.
Shifting from Activities to Outcomes
Many of us become so embroiled in our day to day business workings that we tend to think about activities instead of outcomes. For example, “making cars” is an activity whereas “creating sustainable transport solutions” describes an outcome.
When crafting or reviewing your own purpose statement, ensure it conveys a benefit to society and then check that it inspires your workers, resonates with customers and has the right scope in terms of what you do and don’t want to do.
Making Purpose Real
Unfortunately it’s not enough just to have a great purpose statement - you have to put it into practice. The best thing you can do is to help make it real for your people so they understand exactly what it means for their function or role.
In your communications and reviews with them keep making the link back to your purpose, praising positive behaviours and spend time unpacking challenges that arise.
The fundraising team at the University of Michigan was underperforming until the manager asked recipients of the scholarships that their funding was supporting to come in and tell their story. By making the outcome ‘real’ their fundraising results increased by 172 per cent.
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The great thing about purpose is that it keeps you in sync with the genuine needs of your customers, it’s intuitively sensible and brings clarity as to why your business exists and the positive difference you can make in people’s lives.
ABOUT PHIL PRESTON
Phil is a business purpose guide, helping owners, executives and leaders use purpose to grow their bottom line. He is the author of Connecting Profit With Purpose.
Join Phil at the Growth Gen Summit on 2nd of February for our Seeds of Growth discussion. Book your tickets today!
For more information about Phil, visit philpreston.com.au