Talking to business owners and leaders and reading recent articles there seems to be an underlying trend of people losing sight of the purpose of their business, the purpose for setting up the business in the first place or the purpose for taking a role in an organisation …
The day to day stuff has overtaken more or less everything i.e. the running of the business, delivering to customers, responding to the things that come up every day and for some feeling they need to concentrate on the finances to the exclusion of everything else.
We’ve talked about businesses that are in lock down in previous blog posts and I often find that inthose businesses the impact on the business leaders is that they become disconnected from the business, the purpose for the business and their passion for the business.
And that got me thinking; our purpose may change over time, what seemed important may change, what wevalue may change and also the priority of our values.
And if we don’t check in with both our values and purpose – both personal and business wise – on a regular basis as well as those of the other people in the business, the clients and suppliers then we may continue to have that feeling of disconnection and loss of passion. And frankly if that were to continue then anything that we want to do in the business will be harder and less successful.
Many businesses have mission statements but what are the core values that underpin this?
When was the last time that you sat and thought about your business values and your personal values – and by this I mean such things as authenticity, integrity, openness, honesty, trust and many more? One could argue that these values are more valuable than thefinancial value of the business, for without the former the latter isn’t sustainable.
And taking that a step further, when was the last time that you discussed the business values with the other people in the business? If you haven’t done so in the last 12 months I’d encourage you to do so as it will help you and the people in the business to refocus on what’s important to the business. Capture these values and ensure that they are available to everyone in the business and everyone who the business interacts with. And that interaction may include some changes to encompass the beliefs and values of everyone.
Now, having a clear understanding of the values the next step is to check back in with your business purpose.
Why did you set the business up in the first place?
What did you want to achieve?
Why did you take on the role in the first place and what do you want to achieve?
Have you achieved what you wanted to do?
Has what you want to achieve changed? If so what impact does that have on the business?
One of my mentors Jamie Smart often asks the question “all this for what purpose?” and it’s a really great way to check in with the real purpose of the business and the decisions made in the business. It might seem a very introspective philosophical question but purpose is behind everything that we do. And as we’ve talked about before, sometimes it’s not the first answer that is the real purpose but what lies beneath that.
In taking the business purpose a step further you may consider undertaking a business purpose audit. Robert Craven of The Directors Centre has recently published a business purpose audit, he says “being clear about the purpose of your business is an essential part of business growth. If you and your employees can accurately explain what it is you do and understand what the company wants to achieve, growth and increased sales will come a lot easier.
Here’s a link to The Business Purpose Audit.’It’s a questionnaire that encourages discussions to be started about management, employees, customer experience, strategy and company targets. Thus helping the management and employees align their beliefs about what the business is trying to achieve and how it can be improved. Helping to facilitate an exchange of ideas between everyone in the business or in a team.’
It really is key for you and the people in the business to be aligned in your beliefs and understanding and to own the values and purpose of the business. For businesses in lock downits a step towards unlocking the business and the potential in the business.
Your own purpose will underpin your business purpose, so at times it will seem as if you are putting your head above the parapet. UK PLC (and beyond) needs business owners and leaders who are prepared to do that. For businesses whose purpose is solelyaround making money aren’t the businesses that are sustainable; these businesses don’t fit with what clients, the economy or society wants.
To quote Robert Holden “to live your purpose you have to dare to be even more of who you really are” and that’s what we business owners and leaders need to do. It’s not just about having a purpose but living that purpose and that may take courage.
Rumi said “let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love”; when you are drawn to what you really love there is far more passion and connection with the business, the people in the business, the clients and suppliers which makes the difference between a good business owner and leader and a great one.
If you’d like to find out more about my thoughts on this, then why not call me on +44 (0) 1296 681 094, click here to ping me an email or even leave a comment below.
Advanced notice: on 21st August I’ll be running a free webinar on how to UNLOCK your business; more details to follow in the next blog post.
Until next time …