This feature, by Joanna Swash of Moneypenny, describes why companies should develop sound strategies and a strong culture when searching for the reasons for their existence.
For every person or business it is vital to understand your purpose, which is the foundation of a strong culture. Everyone and everything needs to have reasons for existing, while remaining analytical and transparent at all times.
In recent years it’s become more important than ever, as the world grapples with climate change and the environment, while taking a more serious approach to social issues such as poverty, child labour and conditions of employment. This is partly due to social media and the ease with which companies can be shamed online.
Some businesses have little choice but to understand social grievance, because workers and customers have easier ways to fight back. Nowadays, it’s vital that companies display a strong social conscience. And there is also a growing awareness at what is going on around us and the need to correct perceived injustices.
Finding your purpose will help your organisation to stand the test of time. It is why you exist and what gap you are here to fill. It defines who you want to be. It provides context and is the basis for all strategies and decision-making. Its aim is to unify your people. Google‘s is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible, although they still have a few issues regarding authenticity.
At Moneypenny, we deal with customer communication on behalf of small and large businesses. Our purpose is to be our clients’ second home. We aim to be their most trusted partner for delivering customer interaction. ‘Purpose’ is not about a product or a sales goal but about how an organisation sees itself.
It needs to create a vision of purpose which allows every person within an organisation to understand that their daily contributions are helping to ensure that the company is fulfilling its goals. This, in turn, will help organisations attract and retain the best talent, while remaining innovative and agile in their decision-making.
That said, there sometimes remains a gap between what business leaders believe in, and what their behaviour actually suggests. In order for us to get to the bottom of this, it’s time for some hard, honest truths and reflection.
No one can tell you what to believe in. You have to determine this for yourself.
Only then can you attach purpose to your organisation. What are the core values of the organisation? What do you really care about and what is non-negotiable? And what are the benefits? You also need to determine your greatest strengths and which of these strengths produce the greatest value?
You even need to decide how you wish to be remembered? As bad as this may sound, imagine if your organisation went out of business tomorrow. What would your legacy be? At Moneypenny, we want our team members to know their customers, as well as they would know their friendly neighbours. It’s a vital part of delivering a top-class service.
Authenticity is key.
What actually sets your organisation apart from others, is if you can ‘walk the walk’, rather than just ‘talk the talk. You must demonstrate authenticity in all you say and do. Thanks to the internet and all these social media sites, your stakeholders and clients are more switched on than ever. They literally have facts and figures at the touch of a button.
This is why it is more important than ever that an organisation remains accountable and transparent. And it should even admit to mistakes when things go wrong, and apologise. This will earn you trust from employees, shareholders, partners, customers and also the wider community. It will also lead to increased revenue and growth.
Every organisation begins with a clear purpose, yet it still needs to evolve to remain relevant. Your purpose needs to be your inspiration and your compass. ‘Strong values’ must guide an organisation through every single day, to help it achieve its purpose. Good communication is critical, with bosses needing to reaffirm these values on a regular basis through transparency. People at all levels of an organisation need to believe in what they are doing at all times.
In a constantly changing world, in which consumers are faced with a growing number of options, authenticity certainly helps to create trust. The aim for all companies is to develop resilient, long-lasting relationships with both employees and clients.
Leading with purpose does not negate profit. It actually boosts productivity, growth and employee engagement. Many of today’s most successful businesses are purpose-driven organisations which understand and embrace the bigger employment, social and global picture.