Purpose, by its nature, is defined as the reason for existing and goes beyond making money. It is about people coming together to make an impact in something they believe in with the trust that revenue and growth will follow, rather than as an end in itself. To be a ‘purpose-driven’ organization, companies need to stand for something and look to positively impact society. “Innovation cannot advance in a positive direction,” Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce recently said, “unless it’s grounded in genuine and continued efforts to lift up all of humanity.”
Here are 3 steps to re-capture your purpose to drive long-term results in these uncertain times:
Go back to your WHY.
Now, more than ever, companies need to revisit and return to their purpose / WHY / core values. During hard times, leadership is forced to make quick and tough decisions. By going back to their purpose, each choice can be tied to the long-term vision of the company and help avoid costly short-term/knee-jerk decisions. “So many businesses are lost right now. At BirdEye we are focused on navigating these uncharted waters by focusing on our core values – customer obsession, family spirit, world-class and innovation.” said President & COO, Dave Lehman “Purpose-driven results are measured by the impact we have on our customers and partners. That way, we can all get through this together.”
Connect employees with a vision they can believe in and embrace.
As leaders quickly pivot a company’s direction and change priorities, the stories and reasons behind the change matters. When teams and individual contributors understand how their roles fit into the company’s WHY, everyone feels part of a greater good and can own the company’s key messages. Executives can’t be connected with every customer directly, so it’s critical to empower employees with a foundation to go and expand the brand. Research by Bain & Company shows that if a satisfied employee’s productivity level is 100% and an engaged employee’s level is 144%, the productivity level of an employee that is truly inspired by the company’s purpose is an impressive 225%.
Show empathy and advise with humility.
Emotionally connect with your customers and focus on how they are managing in this time of great uncertainty. Ask the personal questions and be willing to spend time sharing your personal stories first. Selling in this environment is about doubling down on fixing their problems and addressing their concerns rather than pushing your products or services. In these unprecedented times, authentically connecting and helping your customers is the only way to drive business. For example, IKEA wants “to create a better everyday life for the many people” and Southwest Airlines strives to “‘connect people to what’s most important in their lives.” In essence, a company should be selling their vision and aligning their purpose with their customers. Human beings need to feel connected. People will remember how we act today more than any product or service they buy from us.
Businesses that embrace the idea of purpose and profit being intertwined are companies that will drive innovation and achieve long-term success. Leadership needs to communicate more than ever that we are in this together, reinforcing that the company is truly a community that shares the same core values.
JANEL DYAN is a well-regarded executive brand strategist and expert on how to build a story to achieve brand alignment for both company and leadership success. She founded Janel Dyan, Inc. (JD) in 2014, which provides transformative brand strategy and style consultation to high-visibility clients across various industries. Her work has been seen by millions through public experiences at Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forums, among others. Dyan also runs Beyond Us, which provides opportunities to build confidence in women through a platform for sharing clothes with other women who are ready to take the next step in their professional lives. Dyan resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons. Her book Story. Style. Brand.: Why Corporate Results Are a Matter of Personal Style, is available now.