|| Print ||
|Thursday, December 05, 2013|
BY WENDY MAYNARD | GUEST BLOGGER
“Core purpose” – it’s been identified by the most influential business authorities of our time as one of the key ingredients for a high-performing organization.
Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, authors of the innovative business classic Built to Last, embarked upon a 6-year study of truly exceptional companies that have prospered over the long term, including well-known brands such as Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Procter & Gamble, Nordstrom, Disney, and Marriott. These long-lasting organizations each have a remarkable average of 100+ years of sustained business performance.
Collins and Poras uncovered some key components that have allowed all of these high-performance businesses to both endure and thrive.
One of these key components is a deeply-held core purpose that creates a strong sense of identity and continuity throughout a business.
Here’s how Collins and Poras describe an organization's core purpose:
"[It’s] the organization’s fundamental reason for being. An effective purpose reflects the importance people attach to the company’s work—it taps their idealistic motivations—and gets at the deeper reasons for an organization’s existence beyond just making money."
What’s your company’s core purpose?
A core purpose is bigger than a charismatic leader, product, service, team, or technology.
As Simon Sinek says in his book, Start with Why, it's the idea of who you are as a company and why you exist. As such, an organization's core purpose has to be completely idealistic.
Your ability to prosper as a company is not about what you sell, it's about what you believe. And it should drive everything you do.
Unfortunately, too many companies fail to capture this concept. Instead, they end up with uninspiring, cliché mission statements that are neither motivating nor memorable. These businesses are often driven solely by profit and performance, which in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace isn’t sustainable.
“Leaders die, products become obsolete, markets change, new technologies emerge, and management fads come and go, but core ideology in a great company endures as a source of guidance and inspiration,” Collins writes.
The whole point of your core purpose is to motivate and lead your people. It’s the glue that holds your company together as it grows, expands, and diversifies. Employees at every level of your company must know that at the heart of what they do is something meaningful that continuously anchors their daily activities.
Defining your core purpose is all about clarity, genuineness, and alignment. It doesn’t have to sound impressive on a billboard or as a tagline. It does, however, have to be meaningful to your business.
A true core purpose will endure throughout the lifetime of your company.
How do you identify your core purpose?
Collins identifies five important characteristics of a company's core purpose:
Bear in mind, your core purpose is not your strategic differentiator. In fact, you can have the same or a similar core purpose as another company, even one that is in an entirely different industry.
For example, both an interior design company and a landscape company might have a core purpose of "bringing beauty to people's lives." A puzzle company and a team-building event organization may share a core purpose to "provide tools of imagination."
Not sure where to start? Here are some questions that can help you determine your core purpose:
You’ll know when you finally identify your core purpose because it will be accompanied by a strong sense of conviction. Your team will feel a deep "yes!" when it is uncovered.
Delving into the depths of your business and finding your core purpose will take effort – it’s a major evolution in thinking. But when you make the strides to shape your business from the inside out, you are undertaking actions that have a high ROI.
Knowing your core purpose will heighten employee and customer engagement. Your purpose-driven brand will create and inspire enthusiastic advocates who are personally invested in your company’s success.
Have you uncovered your company’s core purpose? Let us know in the comments section below.
Wendy Maynard is a marketing strategist and business consultant who coaches CEOs and leaders on how to build brand awareness and become the top company in their industry. She is the co-founder of Kinesis, a Portland-based marketing firm.
|How Doug Badger spends his downtime|
|Port at a crossroads|
|Our man in Congress|
|100 Best awards 2014|
|GM recalls affect profits|
|Science confirms paper money covered with infectious bacteria|
|First lady announces jobs website for veterans|
|Amazon signs deal with HBO|
|McDonald's U.S. Q1 profits decline|
|Americans question Big Bang theory |
|Skin cancer rates 'surge' since 1970s|
Marketing the state brings new business, new jobs and a better quality of life for everyone.
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest means enjoying our wonderful surroundings, while remaining aware of the multiple types of natural disaster threats that we face: winter storms, windstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.“
Oregon State University's hospitality degree program invests in next-generation leaders.
On Saturday, April 26, more than 1,900 local Comcast employees and their families, friends and community partners will “make change happen” as they volunteer to improve schools and nonprofits in Oregon and Southwest Washington as part of Comcast’s 13th Comcast Cares Day.
NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson just completed their newly rebranded First Quarter Market Reports. Not only does it feature a brand new format, but the report ensures accuracy due to the annual truing up of their database.
Samuel Hernandez, an Associate at Barran Liebman, is the recipient of a 2014 Oregon State Bar Litigation Section Rising Litigator Award.