Purpose has moved to the centre stage in business. It is the glue that keeps organisations aligned and in flow. It connects business owners and leaders with team members and ultimately their customers. It enables business growth as everyone knows what the business stands for and where it is heading. Team members and customers are attracted to businesses that are seeking to be change makers and make a real difference in the world, and so engagement levels increase. That’s the power of an Engaged Purpose.

Let’s be clear purpose is something more profound that corporate social responsibility (CSR). Purpose provides a road map and the opportunity to think much bigger about the impact you and your business are making in the world. It is about so much more than recycling, finding ethical suppliers or recognising the negative effect your business is having on the environment.

So what is an Engaged Purpose?

It is a written statement that clearly communicates to your team what your company does and why. It details the transformation you are trying to create. It provides a structure and framework that will inspire your team to align their daily activities with your company’s larger aspirations.

Purpose is often confused with vision and mission, but they are not the same. Visions, which can be defined as preparation for the future often tend to be factual and so don’t appeal to people’s emotions. Whilst missions tend to describe any work that we believe it is our duty to do. Many visions and missions are too broad in scope and so fail to resonate with team members.

A great purpose always answers the question Why. Why are we doing this? This question gets team members, customers and all the other business stakeholders to become engaged in the business. It motives them to find the answer to How the business achieves this solution. A compelling purpose touches the heart rather than the mind. It provides the road map where all stakeholders feel that they are making a contribution to the organisation’s success, and so fulfils Maslow’s third hierarchy of needs which is comradery and positive relationships

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Crafting Your Purpose

Mistake # 1. Written for the wrong audience.
Many purpose, mission or vision statements are written for the organisation’s customers. This is wrong. Most customers don’t care – they choose to deal with you for reasons other than some words about why you exist and what you do. The people who matter here are your team. Write your Purpose for them, to engage them, and Engaged Customers will become a by-product. (But do write it knowing that customers may read it, too.)

Mistake # 2. Disconnected from the team and confused with vision or mission.
Purpose should not be confused with vision – which can be defined as “preparation for the future,” or mission – which might be described as “any work we believe it is our duty to do.” Certainly both have value, as they are all crucial to your business’ growth and success. =In our experience, however, visions and missions often don’t fully resonate with the teams that are tasked with achieving them (see Mistake #1).

“Purpose-driven organisations are believed to have better results across a variety of measures, with 89% of participants saying they encourage greater employee satisfaction, 85% better customer advocacy and 81% higher quality products and services.”  – EY (formerly Ernst and Young)

Why an Engaged Purpose is Important?

In a study of employees at various companies, EY found that a staggering 87% of respondents believe companies perform better over time when they have a purpose that goes beyond profit. Additionally, EY found a great purpose resulted in:

• 85% BETTER CUSTOMER ADVOCACY
• 89% GREATER EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION (great news, if you’re looking to reduce staff turnover)
• 81%HIGHER QUALITY AND SERVICES

There was another standout figure: only 37% of respondents said their company’s business model and operations were well aligned with its purpose. Imagine what would be possible if more team members became aligned and engaged with the business purpose? Increased productivity, profitability, happier employees, more innovation and creativity and just some of the results.

If you’d like to learn more about The Power of Purpose To Ignite Extra-Ordinary Performance join me for a free workshop being held as part of York Business Week. You can register for the workshop here.

Julia Felton (aka The Business Wrangler) is a thought leader, author, international speaker, business strategist and Horse Assisted Educator. She works with ambitious, forward thinking business leaders who want to challenge the status quo and grow their business to the next level through developing skills that enable them to lead on-the-hoof, in todays uncertain environment.

As the Chief Experience Officer at Business HorsePower, she helps business leaders wrangle (round-up) all their business resources – plans, people, processes and personal leadership – so everything becomes aligned in its own business ecosystem. The results are leaders that have impact and influence and businesses which are purpose-driven, productive and profitable.

Julia’s innovative programmes are inspired by nature and her herd of horses, where no time or energy is wasted. Everything works in perfect harmony as an ecosystem. However, as Julia experienced during her 20 plus years of leading global teams and building a multi-million dollar business unit, this is rarely the norm.

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