Put a Little Purpose Behind It!

defining my purpose definite purpose leaders purpose leadership leadership purpose leadership purpose statement leadership values leading with a clear purpose leading with purpose mission mission vision values mission vs purpose organizational purpose shared values values Apr 02, 2024
mission vs purpose

Providing our teams with clarity around the mission, vision, and values that we’re working toward as an organization can be powerful! One thing I see many leaders struggle with though is keeping those in front of their team members consistently. From the start of this look at the importance of leading with a clear purpose, I’ve stressed that leadership is often incredibly hard. This is just one reason for us, especially when we’re leading a team, to be dialed in on our own definite purpose AND how the mission, vision, and values of our organization tie back to that purpose. Without this kind of definiteness in place, constantly pounding the drum about what we’re working to achieve as a team can feel terribly redundant - and that can get exhausting… But when we can put a little purpose behind it, sharing the mission, vision, and values with our teams might just end up being one of the funnest things we get to do each day!

Here’s what I’ll challenge you to consider: How can we, as leaders, cast a vision for our teams that truly exudes purpose? In complete transparency, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to do that over the long haul unless we’ve put our own purpose to words and we’re absolutely committed to delivering more than anyone would ever expect of us as we work to achieve it. That said, I don’t know many people who have earned authentic influence with the teams they lead who haven’t done both of those things, at least at some level. When a leader has that kind of passion about what they’re working to achieve, it shows up in nearly everything they do.

I shared before about working with the new owners of a local company to create a policy manual, and explained that they were very adamant that anything that wasn’t required by some gubermint entity must tie to one of their five core values or we would remove it. Just recently, they’ve added a sixth core value. Since a large part of that business is public facing, and the majority of their competition provide mediocre customer service (at best), the value they chose to add was Visibility. And they didn’t just print it in a new version of their handbook - in fact, I’m not sure they’ve added there at all yet - they talk about it and exemplify it every single day!

Cindy and I have developed a strong relationship with the entire family who owns and operates this business, but I’ve worked the closest with the husband/dad. It would be one thing if he defined what visibility meant to him or what behaviors were necessary for team members to achieve that during their routines. Quite frankly, that alone would be far more than many executives ever do to ensure their teams understand the mission, vision, or values! But that’s nowhere close to what Craig does. I can’t think of a single time that I’ve been onsite with him where he hasn’t greeted everyone who comes near him. In many cases, I’ve seen him carry things to a customer’s car and help them load it.

Here’s where you may be thinking, “So what, Wes, isn’t that normal for the owner of a small company?” I’d love to think this is very normal but I haven’t seen very many examples of this over the last few years - in businesses of any size. 

Let’s compound that though… This isn’t a business with half a dozen employees. They have nearly fifty on staff, many of which are totally dedicated to doing exactly what I’ve seen the owner doing. Don’t miss my point here though, he’s not doing this because others are asleep at the wheel, he does it because this ties directly to his purpose for purchasing and growing that business. On top of that, he’s intentional about explaining why he does it - and the impact it has on every customer the business serves. With this in mind, next time we’ll dig into how doing that helps us as we lead and helps the team members around us.