I recently had a discussion with a business owner who challenged the necessity of identifying organizational purpose. From their perspective it was simple; to make money to survive. Business was a necessity to survive life, a means to the end and nothing more.
Making money is a result of doing good business. Purpose is why we are doing business. Organizational purpose is more than a goal that is completed and forgotten. It permeates and defines why we do, how we do, and what we do. When our focus – our purpose – is clear, the organization is aligned, engaged, and can thrive.
Science is increasingly validating what people have known about our individual selves: that purpose is a foundational core. Purpose dramatically affects our longevity and well-being, and it creates drive and passion. We change, our priorities and values shift; confidence grows, dissolves into doubt, returns; relationships evolve, form and reform; we have life milestones and events – all forming the complexity of life. Our individual purpose is not discovered once and then we are done with it. It is reexamined and discovered at various points throughout life.
Organizational purpose is no different. The business changes, shifts, grows, and adapts; forming the complexity of business. Organizational purpose is the ability to have perspective, awareness, and be conscious of the opportunities and challenges and should be reexamined and evaluated at various points as well.
In a 2014 New York Times article title “Why You Hate Work”, they state, “In a 2012 meta-analysis of 263 research studies across 192 companies, Gallup found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees, compared with the bottom quartile, had 22percent higher profitability, 10 percent higher customer ratings, 28 percent less theft and 48 percent fewer safety incidents”.
The same article, quotes a study by the Harvard Business Review and The Energy Project polled more than 12,000 white collar employees and found that employees that derive a sense of purpose are: 1.7 times higher to feel job satisfaction and 1.4 times more engaged at work.
In its Insights Study from April 2014 of 160,000 US employees, Limeade, discovered feeling a sense of purpose at work ranked as the No. 2 factor driving employee engagement.
When vision or purpose is clear, and resources are aligned, employees are more engaged and productive – typically outperforming the market by triple digits, and therefore positively impacting the bottom line.
Consider how your business may answer the following questions:
Do you feel that your system and resources properly aligned to achieve the full potential of results?
Are you and your team aiming to raise the bar to improve productivity and performance, enhance your customer experience, and reduce expenses?
The organization is in the midst of a transition (market or environment changing, the business has plateaued, managing growth). How does the organization find the right direction?
The organization is successful. How do we capture our success and adapt to the ever changing environment for sustained growth?
Organizational Assessments can be can be a key first step in articulating a clear purpose. Organizational Assessments are part of the discovery phase work to better understand what is working well and where to focus improvement efforts. They help identify items to create action plans to improve outcomes and drive tangible organizational results.