It ALL Matters; Connecting Monotony to Monumental

definite purpose employee purpose individual purpose leading with purpose organizational purpose providing purpose in the workplace purpose purpose driven organization purpose driven workplace purpose of leadership the power of purpose in business what is my purpose what is your definite purpose in life why is purpose important Jun 11, 2024
purpose driven organization

A year or so before I left the manufacturing company I had worked with for nearly my entire adult life, the corporate office launched a campaign that segmented the organization into two distinct business units. Truth be told, this wasn’t anything new; it’s more about branding than anything else… While the company had once been extremely diverse in the industries it operated in, the primary focus during my two decade stint was automotive parts; specifically emission control and ride control components that were either supplied directly to the automotive assembly plants (such as Ford, GM, Toyota, etc.) or to aftermarket retailers (like AutoZone, Advance Auto, NAPA, and so on). The facility I spent the bulk of my career in produced aftermarket exhaust products. As the “change” was rolled out in 2013, the emission control (exhaust) facilities fell under the “Clean Air” business unit and the ride control (shocks & struts) facilities were deemed the “Ride Performance” business unit.

Although none of this was really earth-shattering news to anyone within the organization at the time, the part I remember most about it all was the push to connect the overall public perception - primarily those folks buying and selling on Wall Street - with how climate friendly we were as a company, especially with an entire business unit dedicated to “Clean Air.” My point here isn’t to make a case for or against emission control regulation but I’ll share my simple stance briefly; I’m completely convinced that we should all be responsible stewards of the world we live in. I’m even more convinced that the vast majority of poliTICKS (the R’s and the D’s), and the gubermint entities they write legislation for that dictate so much of what you and I should be doing to be good stewards, are far more interested in how they can line their own pockets than they are in taking care of the actual environment around us - or anything else they stick their paws into for that matter. Before you throw stones at me for that stance, let me know how confident you are about sending your next mortgage payment in cash through the USPS or how excited you are about your next trip to the DMV… 

Now that I've climbed down from my soapbox, hopefully you’re still willing to catch why I bothered sharing anything about that organization’s changed branding of those business units. I know all too well the importance of gaining and keeping the confidence of the folks on Wall Street, and it was re-emphasized continuously when every quarter was the most important quarter in the history of the world, but I can’t tell you that I remember much from my entire career with that organization that made a direct connection from the work anyone did each day to stamp parts or assemble those mufflers, pipes, or catalytic converters to the impact the finished product would have on the world around us once installed on a vehicle. For perspective, I could routinely churn out thirty to forty THOUSAND parts per day off one of the presses I operated during my first few years with the company but I never really knew how the varying length, hole pattern, or diameter impacted anything other than the sound of the car - and that was just a general understanding at best.

If we, as leaders, want to have a reasonable shot of helping our team members find purpose in the work their do, while providing a clear picture of a purpose that really drives them, we need to become effective and efficient in connecting even the most monotonous tasks they may deal with on a daily basis to the impact those can have when coupled with other parts of our overall process. As we connect those seemingly small pieces with the bigger picture we’re working to achieve throughout our organization - and the purpose behind that - we can then work to tie it back to the things they’ve told us that get them out of bed each morning!

Make no mistake though, neither of these will be enough to achieve great results by itself; the clear understanding of how mundane work supports the company’s purpose or simply recognizing why any of our team members do the things they do… Further, we shouldn’t assume that either can be achieved - and definitely not sustained - without the other. With that in mind, let’s consider one of the best reasons I can think of for any of our team members to rally around the organization’s purpose; stay tuned…