You see them everywhere. Customer-centric aspirations that feel nice.
Dang. That sounds like a nice place to do business with. They seem nice. I bet they’re nice.
I call shenanigans.
Hear me out.
If a company’s purpose is to serve customers at the highest level, then how do they do that? If you’re like most businesses, it’s with your employees. And people are the greatest wildcard any company has in its pool of resources. I’ve never met a business owner with customer-facing employees who has disagreed with this.
We’ve all heard Sir Richard Branson’s quote about employees coming first.
Branson’s simple philosophy is that, if your employees are happy and enjoy what they do, they will be productive. Consequently, the customers will enjoy their experience with your company and keep coming back for more.
This took me deep down the rabbit hole.
By applying Branson’s belief to company purpose statements all around the globe, it was astounding to see that most companies fundamentally miss the core concept of purpose.
Purpose is an internal motivator. Purpose is not an external motivator. Purpose is what gives a person’s life meaning. Purpose only comes from within. We can not impose our purpose on others. People are only motivated by their personal purpose, not yours.
That means when you are looking for leaders to join your tribe, you are looking for leaders that believe what you believe in. These people will demonstrate this with their individual actions and behaviors towards your tribe members.
Your purpose will shine through in how you write and enforce your policies and processes. It will be reflected in your comp plans and sales forecasts. It will show up in your budget planning.
The employees you desire are the ones who want to live a life of purpose. Purpose provides fulfillment. Purpose feeds our identity. Purpose is meaning in life. Your purpose is your purpose only. This means your purpose is about creating an environment that helps your people find their purpose. They can only do this if they feel happy, healthy, and wealthy.
Most believe purpose is about the purpose of the company and how we do it in such a nice and friendly way. What the company is meant to do. You’ve inadvertently externalized an internal driver.
“This is precisely why your company’s purpose is toothless.”
So what should your company’s purpose be?
If we fundamentally agree that Sir Richard Branson is correct and that this belief serves as a significant component to his over 400 companies’ success, then I argue that the Leader’s Purpose should be to protect and defend a happy, healthy, wealthy culture.
If, in fact, it’s your employees that run the tools, do the work, and act as the interface to your clients, then to truly be as successful as Sir Richard Branson, you need to die on this hill for your tribe.
This is the purpose of champions. This is the purpose of a truly legendary tribal leader. This is the purpose that rallies top talent, self-motivated team players, and other ambitious leaders to be a part of something special.
The more you protect and defend your happy, healthy, wealthy culture with your life, the more you improve every aspect of your lifestyle. Anything that threatens your precious culture must never be tolerated. It must be eradicated swiftly and decisively. There must be no room for doubt to seep in.
Is this company purpose something you can make customer-forward? Absolutely. Sir Richard Branson has.
When you are adamant that you will do whatever it takes to protect and defend a happy, healthy, wealthy culture, you are telling your customers that to provide a world-class buying experience, you must do everything you can to ensure the people meant to deliver that experience are operating at peak performance.
This only happens when you ensure they are in a positive state of mind. When their mental faculties are clear and healthy, to make good decisions. And when they feel sufficiently compensated for the desired output so as to avoid manipulative practices. Happy. Healthy. Wealthy.
“Culture is yours, and yours alone to protect and defend.”
This means you have to reinforce desirable actions and behaviors with positive feedback and eliminate undesirable actions and behaviors.
Whose actions and behaviors? Yours, individuals within your tribe, and your tribe as a collective.
When everyone is working together for a common purpose, you build momentum. Momentum creates inertia. Inertia propels your company forward. Protecting and defending a happy, healthy, wealthy culture reduces internal friction. The lower the friction, the further your company can grow.
“Culture is how legacies are built.”
Those who pick up your mantle are the ones you promote to positions of leadership. For those who choose to follow their own purpose, you nurture and foster their greatness.
Purpose is personal and internal. It is not a statement you can post on a wall and expect to be embraced blindly by all. It is a moral code you must choose to follow as a point of honor, even when it’s hard.
“In the absence of motivation, one must choose discipline, or betray themselves.”
But if you’re looking for the purpose that has built Legends, then take on the responsibility of protecting and defending the happiness, health, and wealth of those you’ve placed in your charge.
“Protecting and defending a happy, healthy, wealthy culture
is the purpose our modern-day Legends embrace with their life.”
Standing for something matters more than ever. People follow people who have their best interests at heart.