Purpose Is Your Business Identity!
It’s always complicated to find the right subject for the first article in your blog. It sets the tone for the entire blog and people will either hate it or remember it. I know that I have strong opinions and people that I share my ideas with may think that I’m too radical. It’s a good thing for me, it means I’m pushing buttons enough to make them react, what I’m saying touches them, disturbs them.
In my past experiences as a consultant, I always used to encounter the same issue no matter the organization. At first glance, it’s a problem of process or organization structure, then when you dig deeper by interviewing people or just hearing people talk during workshops, you find that they lack purpose.
Relation Between Business and Purpose
Every organic human being or organization needs to have a meaning. Even if it’s just survival, it needs to find why it is working or living. If I make a parallel with personal life, some of us want a family, babies, a house and a nice lifestyle. Some of us want to discover the world, explore countries and learn about all the secret hidden places.
As said in “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” from Daniel H. Pink, the purpose is (here):
What’s in it for an organization?
As said before, an organization can be considered as a living organism.
One really good book which shows you what you can do is “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh…
Zappos is an example of an organization with a real purpose in the pursuit of excellence on one thing: Delivering happiness to their customer! They have a purpose and they make it live in every cell of the organization. From the customer support, to the delivery or their website. This book really reflects the color of his CEO and the color of the company. It’s like Tony Hsieh is talking to you. This book was mind blowing for me, not just because I was discovering a lot of new things, but because of the way the author speaks to you as the reader.
Some lessons that I keep in mind:
- Snoozing in the morning is always a sign and should pay attention to that.
- The culture is in every part of your organization, of your processes and you need to be transparent and persistent with it
- When you have a purpose, nothing else matters and you have to keep your assets near you to help you fulfill it. For Zappos case, their customer service center
- Sometimes you have to do things that go against your values as a human, but if you believe in a longer term and you are transparent with your team, you can go through any challenges…
And those are just a few that I keep in my head and sometimes I remember these lessons.
I have other books in mind but it will be part of another blog post.
An organization lives with the purpose. For me, it’s like the heart of the organization, without the blood that is coming from the heart, all the organs and all the cells of the body die.
The main difference between purpose, mission and values
The purpose is the big dream, the thing you wanna accomplish at the end. The way you’re gonna make yourself or your company a cult.
A company is like a cult, you need to find your first 1000 fans. Sure it’s gonna be hard and some of them will hate you at the beginning. In the end those fans will be your warriors, will bear your brand like nobody else and will defend it everywhere and turn more people into your customers.
As an example, Steve Jobs wanted to bring beauty and passion into everyone’s life. In fact, Apple is just a computer company… The purpose of the company is different; that’s what make Apple different from Samsung for example.
Every startup founder should be obsessed by this idea. Turning their customers into fans and even turning non-customers into fans. They should be living, breathing and sleeping on and for their purpose.
To finish it in one phrase, the purpose is your company philosophy.
The mission of your company is what you do, for who and how you do it. Values are your corporate culture in general. If you want more information about that point read this article from Harvard Business Review.
In another post I will talk about the way to put it in place and the kind of question you can ask yourself to define it.
I am a product manager in London, Global citizen, Whisky lover(Islay and Speyside), founder of ReponseIO trying to write about my passions.