The Book: Purpose as a Core Characteristic of the Remarkable Organization
By Admin

January 31, 2011

A quote from a graduate of a men’s Life and Balance Training Program: “Leading a life with a Mission and Purpose helps me clarify my priorities”. This is from a white-collar, mid-life individual who has a good job and decent life. Without asking, one would think he is balanced and totally productive, when the reality of his life is that he may be just 10 degrees off center and therefore not as productive as he could or should be.

Do you think that NOT giving your employees a clear PURPOSE on behalf of your customers or your company would be any different? How would your company be affected if your entire workforce was 30% less productive than they could be?

In our research, one of the single most critical factors that separates a Great Workplace 2.0 from all others is the concept of Purpose. It facilitates  smaller, less asset-rich organizations beat the pants off of larger competitors, and without question acts as a powerful magnet in attracting productive talent. Organizations that have defined their Purpose and use it to propel their successes have done so in part by recognizing that “The very nature of work, who does, where and why, has changed forever”.

Purpose is the organization’s reason for being in business.

Purpose is the energy and the passion behind an organization or individual’s pursuit of achievements. It is steps above a goal and the hand behind innovation. It is at the core of focus, it is the incubator of dreams. It is at once both an intrinsic character and an outward flow of that character.

The conceptualization of, then the implementation of an organizational Purpose is at the core of ALL Great Workplaces.

The Great Workplace 2.0 ™ has discovered that having Purpose (singular or plural) shared by all Participants with their organization fortifies effectiveness and in turn supports the ability to be more than simply competitive.

“Purpose” is not a substitute for Mission or Goals.

A “Statement of Purpose” is not a substitute for “Mission Statement”.

Purpose has NO end game. Missions and Goals do. When a mission statement is compared to a Purpose, the mission cries for substance.

People (Participants) want their work efforts to have a Purpose beyond or above simple material gain. Working toward a concept larger or greater than our own self is a touch with immortality. Those things we do only for ourselves stay within us and perish or dwindle when we do.

Purpose (to conclude this thought by borrowing from author and Design Consultant Jack Ricchiutto) ‘has the power to inspire what we might only have imagined. It shapes us individually and collectively more than whom we have been. The lens of future possibilities (Purpose is inherently future in intent) is the lens that shapes our sense of what’s possible in the present’. (Jack would have inserted the word “Future” where I used “Purpose”. See jackzen.com for some thought-inspiring words)

Purpose gives the organization its flame of life. It gives people the fire to perform for a concept greater than a paycheck or a “fill in the blank” organization-serving Mission Statement.

It energizes at a grass roots level. It builds an organization from the ground up. It builds a foundation to its Community from a shared Vision, a shared Purpose and a shared Trust.

The Great Workplace 2.0 has recognized that “Grass Roots” is not a matter of rank or status. It is a consequence of touch, and that “touch” breeds trust.

It realizes that Trust is not a word in a slogan. It is a descriptor of being Remarkable.

Remarkable is being uncommon or extraordinary. We would add that in The Great Workplace 2.0 “Remarkable” is not fancy nor is it glitzy, which have tendencies to be short-lived. Remarkable is being well-integrated to stated Purpose.

People, working together, regardless of geography or “status”, get behind a direction (Purpose) that becomes profitable for everyone involved. People recognize that a group or community with a Trusted Purpose can move the mountains individuals or insulated “leaders” cannot. Shared Purpose makes Collaboration possible.

Purpose will draw upon an individual’s need for a deeper understanding of himself or herself. It will allow a person to Aspire to something greater. In doing so, people Grow. When people grow, organizations receive the summary benefit.

The concept of Purpose within an organization demands that Participants are Learning beyond their current level of expertise. Learning energizes those participants who can affect the direction of an organization. Learning directly influences Sustainability.

Yet learning is not a Method. It is a Culture and culture is the intersection of all Participants’ individual and collective Purposes.

Purpose can be felt, seen and heard. Where there is no strong Purpose, there is an emptiness.

As people grow, they realize that ideas around them or ideas they believe have been born inside them may have a place in concepts greater than their perception of a day’s reality. Innovation happens.

When people find others with the same or similar Purpose, strong Networks are created. Networks with Purpose create new ideas, solve old problems, seize new opportunities and bring those ideas to bear on the organization that has allowed that recognition. Collaboration is born.

Purpose flows along with the Community it creates. Community comes from Collaboration, Collaboration is born from Trust, Trust is born from Shared Purpose and Value is created from and by Community.

The Great Workplace 2.0 has dumped the decades-old idea of Mission Statements as motivators or directives and has replaced them with statements of true Purpose, and are reflective of the culture that does or will drive the organization’s success.

Purpose will always be sought. When it seems Purpose has been attained, the realization will come that to hesitate, lose your grip or engine for even for one moment…the Purpose will then be something to be sought after. Again.

The Customer moves the Purpose. It is theirs to move. They move your Purpose so it aligns with their own. The customer is in charge. They can be Internal or External to the organization. In turn, their Purpose can be Intrinsic or Extrinsic.

When theirs is Extrinsic, you need to know. Your Purpose has moved.

As Purpose has no end game, and is moved by its own object, it evolves into continual improvement.

Purpose becomes part of an Ethos, not part of a goals strategy. Purpose can be measured, but as its object of focus moves slightly or massively, Purpose finds a new life and possibly a new beginning.

The Great Workplace 2.0 understands the difference between Purpose and Mission and chooses the deeper value of Purpose for its strength. That Purpose can then be the foundation to a single Mission or an Intrinsic Corporate Mission.

When a true Purpose is the foundation for a Mission, it changes the direction and importance of that Mission. It ties Activity and Strategy to Purpose, and becomes unbeatable.

Purpose is the energy and the passion behind an organization or individual’s pursuit of achievements. It is steps above a goal and the hand behind innovation. It is at the core of focus, it is the incubator of dreams.

More people are becoming disillusioned with the sole pursuit of material gain (especially on the part of the Organization) as an Ethos.

Purpose is pride and Purpose must integrate into lives. As the world is becoming a smaller and more familiar place, more people want to be known as a “Good Person” with proven principles and less as a consumer of fleeting resources. Purpose transcends consumption.

Purpose can answer and fulfill the business question or decision query: “What should I do now?” When a participant (employee) needs to make an independent decision that can affect the health of the organization or relationship with a customer, the organization’s understood Purpose becomes the path of thought. It reduces or eliminates expediency.

In many ways it is the differentiator of one organization from another in the marketplace, and as an organization builds a brand, it can be a singular reason a customer will choose one firm over another.

Purpose is ALWAYS customer centric. One simply needs to define who the customer really is.

The Mission Statement is dead to The Great Workplace 2.0. Long live the Mission Statement. It is an example of what NOT to focus on.

“To become the leading provider of Fabricated Instrumentation Facades in our Industry and to constantly be looking to Innovate new products for our customers so that ABC company can grow and prosper” seems awfully lame now, doesn’t it?

Purpose is customer-centric.

The customer is the Greater Good, the “larger than life” concept all people should want to serve.

Achieving the Purpose for The Customer should make the supplier feel grateful and humble. Someone thinks HIGHLY of your efforts.

But The Customer (we are all one) should never try to make the supplier feel humble or grateful. Both need to feel grateful that each hold the other in importance.The customer should never be a means to an end. Nor should the supplier be measured only in savings. Cost does not mean value.

Value comes from achieving Purpose that is mutually sustainable.

Purpose is the glue that when set, invisibly ties all the assets of a Great Workplace together making that organization truly remarkable.

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