A business without true purpose and passion... isn't
If you don't care about the ‘why' of your business, no one else will either.
Only once the owner is absolutely clear why he is in this business - what it is all about for him, why it excites and inspires him - will he be able to create a powerful business ‘Mission and Purpose' that will enthuse his staff, his customers and everyone connected with the business.
The Mission and Purpose sits behind every part, every action, every decision of the business. It informs how all the other parts of the business operate.
We define the business Mission and Purpose in a statement that clarifies what the whole of the business strives for. It is an inspiring visionary statement that excites, and drives everyone who is part of the business. It fulfils a common need for people, which is to be part of something bigger.
One example of a great business Mission and Purpose statement comes from a furniture manufacturer in Sydney, Nicholas Dattner. Nicholas created a work shop and retail outlet in the mid-eighties in Sydney, selling tables and chairs that he made himself. He named the business:
‘The World's Most Beautiful Tables'
Nicholas Dattner's business became very successful and many fine homes in Sydney have one of his tables in their dining room. Nicholas himself is sailing around the world these days and will not need to work anymore for the rest of his life.
The impact of such a single courageous statement is to give a clarity, direction and focus to the business that makes every decision and action in the business so much easier to take.
Once you have developed a clear, inspiring, unambiguous Mission and Purpose, an important next step is to create a set of Guiding Principles, or Commandments which define the behaviours and decisions that lead to achievement of the Mission and Purpose. Without such a set of Guiding Principles, it is likely that the mission will get watered down and loses its impact over time.
It all starts with your personal values and believes. They drive what you are passionate about, which in turn leads to your Mission, Cause or Purpose. The Guiding Principles flow from that, leading to the benefits we want to provide the customers with. And the last step is to decide how we are going to achieve that.
John's Bedtime Story
Once upon a time a long, long time ago in a land not unlike Australia... I worked with a small business owner called John, who had an electrical contracting business. John felt that his business had been drifting aimlessly from job to job for some time. Staff were not particularly engaged with the business.
One day John and I realised that because John himself wasn't particularly clear on what the business was about or why it existed, he could hardly ask anyone else to be engaged with it.
Over a period of some weeks, we went through a process to unearth what John himself was really all about, why he did what he did, and hence what the purpose of his company was. In the end, we honed in on the connection between John's passion and why the business existed. We expressed this in one short statement: "You're in Safe Hands"
Suddenly things started to fall into place. The whole direction and focus of the business became clear. John was able to communicate this to his staff and engage them in it. He knew he was on the right track with his mission when some of his staff started pointing out systems and procedures in the business that were at odds with the purpose of "You're in safe Hands".
Now, a few years later, it's hard to recognise the business. The brand and the purpose have become one and everyone associated with the company lives the purpose every day.
And John lived happily ever after...