Digging Deep to Recover Your Reason for Being
Your company purpose is key to your brand differentiation. Knowing why you do what you do will help you draw the right customers to your company. But what if along the way you have lost hold of your company purpose? Or what if you never identified your company purpose? The good news it’s never too late for you to (re)discover your company purpose.
Now, it’s important to remember that your company purpose has nothing to do with making money. It can’t have anything to do with making money. Because making money is only a by-product of your company purpose.
Here are three ways you can (re)discover your company purpose.
1. Uncovering your past
(Re)discovering your company purpose is like excavating for an archeological site. If your company has been around for a while, your purpose could be buried under a lot of history. And you may have to do some digging in your past to find your purpose.
You may need to recover your roots by uncovering your past. You can look through older marketing materials to see what motivated you to serve your customers. And you can think through why you started the company to begin with. Try to recall what prompted you to take on this enterprise.
Talk to those who have been there since the beginning. Ask them for stories that explain why they came to work for your business. Ask them for stories that give a sense of the passion behind the company’s origins. And ask them for stories about what made the company worth founding.
Once you collect the data about what brought the company to life in the beginning, that will help you understand why it’s worth pursuing today.
2. Grounding your present
Even if you never gave any thought to your company purpose before, you can still dig the foundation for your company. Think through what is important to you now, and that will provide the framework for your company purpose. And that structure will help you build the company going forward.
Your company purpose is deeper than what you do. It’s the rallying cry that draws people to you. And it’s the reason that people will stay with you—even when times get hard. Your company purpose answers questions like these.
- Why is the world better because you are here?
- How would you be missed if you disappeared?
- What is the difference you want to make?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you connect better with your customers. Your company purpose will resonate with your customers so that you will develop greater loyalty. Because they will believe the same things you believe.
3. Securing your future
You can choose to involve other stakeholders in helping you tie your company to something sturdy. And you can rope your employees, your customers, your investors, your suppliers, and even your community into the process of securing your future.
By involving your employees—and not just your senior leadership team—you will gain some important internal buy-in with the process. And by involving those on the outside—like your customers, investors, suppliers, and community—you can gain some valuable perspective from those who can help you understand how your brand is perceived.
By involving these groups in helping you understand your purpose, they will have a vested interest in your success. Because they will help you focus your efforts on where you need to go from here.
Because the process of (re)discovering your company purpose requires a lot of soul searching, it’s recommended that you retain a skilled facilitator to keep you on track. But if you can keep yourself and your team on track in your search for your purpose, then do it on your own.
But regardless whether you conduct the purpose search on your own or with a skilled facilitator, it’s important that you make the effort to intentionally embed your purpose into everything you do. Use your purpose as a reminder that you are at your place of work to do more than make money. Remind yourself and your team that you are there to make a difference.
What is your company purpose?
Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies make ideals actionable.