Take charge of the talent challenge in 2023! With THE BEST BOSS EVER newsletter by your side, discover extraordinary leadership ideas and concepts. Learn strategies that will empower you to lead yourself and your team members to unparalleled success!
PART ONE – Last Month’s Key Points
1. Good is not good enough when better is possible! What is your plan to become a better leader this year? Are you making progress – how can you tell? If you want to see your people achieve their full potential and create a high-performance team, you will need to up your game. The best leaders intentionally create the best teams. Start formally coaching them. Your people are paying attention and will notice if you are learning, growing, and being more effective as a leader.
2. Great leaders develop great leaders. Once your improvement plan is in place and is working, you should set your sights on your key people. Leadership development needs to be planned and as the plan gets implemented, progress and effort should be evaluated. Don’t leave it to chance. How are your best people going to develop into great leaders? Decide to let go of some things that could accelerate their growth.
3. Leadership is leading change. If your organization could be better – there is a need for change. Leadership is mostly about helping people change, and do something they have not done before, especially doing things better than they think is possible. What change are you intentionally leading this year? How are you going to do it? You need a plan to get managerial support, gain buy-in from other departments, overcome resistance to change, and help employees with their emotional transition to the new beginning.
PART TWO – 3 Leadership Ideas
I would like to share something with you that has the potential to change your life. I know that sounds too good to be true. Here’s how I got there. I don’t think anyone can know the most important thing to become a great leader. However, when I asked my friend, Richard Davis who ran US Bancorp this question, his immediate response was that ‘all great leaders have IQ, EQ, and CQ’ (curiosity quotient).
Ten years ago, I would have probably added to Richard’s list by saying you need to be an extraordinary learner who consistently improves as a leader. Five years ago, I would have strongly suggested you need to make “inspiring and motivating others to high performance” (Zenger Folkman’s differentiating competency descriptor) a strength.
Today, I would emphatically add to the list – great leaders lead with a purpose. The power of purpose cannot be underestimated. It has a tremendous effect on those who have the choice to follow you. I wish I could give every reader the opportunity to know their purpose and live their life on purpose. It means everything. Here are three things you need to know about it.
# 1 – Purpose is not Your Mission or Vision…
All three are good and necessary. ‘Vision’ is where we are going. ‘Mission’ is what we do. ‘Purpose’ is why we do it. Many companies have not identified their ‘true north’ or the reason they are in business. Purpose is a unifying principle that connects everyone in the organization with your stakeholder’s needs. Following authentic commitments to running the organization on purpose, leaders experience better ways to create extraordinary effort, creativity, and teamwork.
In Deep Purpose – The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies, Ranjay Gulati writes: “Purpose is a unifying statement of the commercial and social problems a business intends to profitably solve for its stakeholders. This statement encompasses both the goal and duties, and it succinctly communicates what a business is all about. When we act with intent, we don’t behave indiscriminately, but rather deliberately, even mindfully. When we act with intent, we behave with urgency, commitment, energy, and focus, basing our behavior on a keen and often hard-won sense of who and what we are.”
“I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being … Purpose (which should last at least 100 years) should not be confused with specific goals or business strategies.” David Packard
# 2 – ‘Convenient’ Purpose Does Not Work
Convenient purpose has been used by companies such as Theranos, Purdue Pharma, Turing Pharmaceuticals, and Enron. These companies used their stated purpose to dupe investors, customers, and employees. They promoted a commitment to a purpose to make the world a better place, but they only wanted to look good and financial performance was their singular focus.
These companies, and perhaps yours as well, operate their business primarily for the benefit of the shareholders. And this used to be okay but times have changed. Today’s young employees do not want to work for a narrow-minded organization that only makes the senior executives and shareholders wealthy!
In 2019, ‘The Business Roundtable’ (CEOs of the largest companies in the U.S.) wrote: “Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities, and our country.” Interestingly a McKenzie study showed also in 2019 that 82% of employees agree that purpose was important but that only 42% felt “their organization’s purpose statements drive impact.”
Purpose statements are not the new way to create mission statements. They simply answer the question: why do we exist? There are more companies today that are embracing the idea that purpose-driven companies ‘can solve social and environmental problems while also generating wealth’ than ever before. Are you aware of how your competitors are harnessing the power of purpose?
“Talking about your purpose may only lead to another version of your mission. Don’t just check the box and create a cheap & convenient purpose. Deep purpose touches the soul of an organization.” — Don Frericks
# 3 – Aligning Your Purpose Is Important
So, what’s a leader to do? First, lead your senior leaders to learn more about the power of purpose and decide to discover your company’s purpose. Second, create alignment between all leaders. Determine how everyone’s personal purpose aligns (or doesn’t) with the company’s purpose. And last, work together to set goals to “profitably solve” all stakeholders (not just shareholders’) problems and drive the company to meet the needs of customers, employees, vendors, communities, and shareholders.
The power of purpose comes from a true and complete dedication to running a business to meet the needs of all stakeholders. Often, the commitment we make to successfully run our part of the business (Sales, Finance, Marketing, etc.) gets in the way of leading the business in true collaboration with other leaders (no pointing fingers: we hit our targets, but they didn’t hit theirs). Silos encourage independence and specialization. Purpose creates interdependencies.
Purpose-led senior teams are better off running the business with common goals instead of specialized goals. A leadership team on purpose can accomplish more together than independently. Problem-solving and decision-making without attachment to your goals or your budget or your incentives is much more effective.
“Lessons for leaders – make purpose meaningful by approaching every decision with the intention of benefiting every stakeholder. ” – Ranjay Gulati
PART THREE – Application
1.) Reflection Q’s
· What is my company’s purpose?
· What is my personal purpose?
· How would my leadership effectiveness be improved by leading with purpose?
1. Deep Purpose – The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies by Ranjay Gulati
2. Conscious Capitalism Field Guide – Tools for Transforming Your Organization by Raj Sisodia, Timothy Henry, Thomas Eckschmidt (Chapter 4: Discovering Your Purpose)
3. The Business Case for Purpose – Harvard Business Review, October 1, 2015
a. Revisit your company’s history. Talk to the founders, review documents, or find news about the company’s start-up. Why was the company started? What were the guiding principles it was founded on?
b. Reflect on how your company makes a difference in the lives of the people and companies you serve.
c. Engage other interested leaders to discover and debate what you are most passionate about, where you can have the biggest impact, and the company’s unique strengths.
P.S. Would you do me a favor? Please forward this newsletter to a friend or colleague you respect and could benefit from it. Thank you!
P.P.S. If discovering your purpose seems like something you should be doing and you want some direction, send me an email at [email protected].