“Jeff, you gotta see this.”
I was talking to a friend of mine who is the VP of Global Marketing for a fantastic company that makes products for families. They are on the cutting edge of research in trying to find ways to serve young parents.
“There’s a question that is rising to the top that customers are asking,” he said. “It’s surprising because it doesn’t have to do with product as much as purpose.”
Before we go any further, let me point out that thriving organizations of the future will understand this important reality: In today’s world, Profit and Purpose travel together.
(Shout-out to non-profit leaders: Don’t disregard this email. The idea of profit is important for you too. Just think of it as closing the gap between your future vision and your current resources.)
For some reason, profitable organizations are seen as evil in today’s world. Sure, there are organizations that do bad things. Call me naive, but I think that’s the exception. I think the world is better when we have thriving, profitable organizations. In fact, thriving communities require it.
What my friend was showing me in their research is that the road to profitability is now running through purpose.
“Here’s the question they’re asking,” he said. “What is your company doing to make our community a better place?”
Wow. We just looked at each other.
“They’re asking about purpose,” I said.
“Exactly. And if you don’t have a good answer, the implication is that they will move on.”
It’s why the question, “What do we want to be known FOR?” isn’t going away.
It’s here to stay. It’s also why you have to be sure there is clarity around the answer. If an organization answers this question by saying, “We came up with that seven years ago on a retreat and it’s a 12-paragraph mission statement that’s in a filing cabinet somewhere down the hall…” chances are no one knows the answer. And if there’s confusion in the office space, there will be confusion in the market place.
As challenging as these past two years have been, it has provided an opportunity to rethink purpose. Don’t squander this opportunity. It’s not too late.
Additionally, don’t forget that leaders are repeaters. It’s not enough to have a compelling purpose. You have to put purpose on repeat.
But don’t take my word for it.
Take your customers word for it.
After all, it’s the surprising question they’re asking.
P.S. A great next step, if you haven’t read Know What You’re FOR, is to order it on Audible. (Also, Amazon hopes to have a new supply of the hard cover soon. Thanks for your patience!)