How to discover your Purpose
Why companies should have a purpose and act on it – that is what we discussed in the first blog of the Purpose blog series. If you haven’t read the first article, please do so before continuing.
Now that you are more aware of why it is so important and useful to have a clear purpose strategy, the next question is: how do I get there?
While there a many ways and methods out there, we’d like to share our preferred route. We’ve used this for our own GoodUp purpose journey as well. We’re sharing it with you so that you can learn and use it as well. Yes, this blog contains quite some buzz-words, so be aware. You might just start using them too ;).
Discover your unique concept as a starting point
Let’s face it: it is quite a process to get a solid business model. Let alone finding something as pretentious as a purpose! So, let’s start at the beginning: discovering your unique business concept. Jim Collins presents a very useful model to guide us in this process. This model is called the Hedgehog Concept. The hedgehog exercise in his book From Good to Great shows which questions you should ask yourself. A hedgehog is used to illustrate how this animal uses his unique qualities in a way that really makes him unbeatable. A hedgehog has only one great skill: roll up into a ball with sharp spines that no ones dares to touch. Collins states that companies performing best have identified this one unique thing they are best at. They invest all their energy in mastering that one competence to stay ahead of the game.
To create your own hedgehog, you answer the following questions: 1. What gets you out of bed in the morning? 2. In what can you become the very best in? And 3: What is your economic engine, determining the thing that people are willing to pay for. Your hedgehog ability lies in the crossover of those areas.
Et voila, now you have discovered your unique business proposition that you really like, that you can do better than anyone else, and with which you can earn some money.
Image based on From Good to Great – Jim Collins
Adding crucial element ‘what the world needs’
And then? Are you ‘there’ yet? In today’s world, we really feel that each and everyone of us would like to do something that is really needed by the world. To help solve a specific societal problem. To do something that really matters. Consumers demand this. Employees demand this. Society does so as well. In fact: all stakeholders of your organisation should demand it. And we’re not alone in that belief. Francesc Miralles and Héctor Garcia created an add-on to the model of Collins which really helps to define one’s purpose in addition to the business model.
The authors of the book Ikigai, Miralles and Garcia, propose a fourth question to unfold your raison d’etre: determine your focus area of all the things that are needed in the world. Provide your answer to the fourth question: “What does the world need?”. This is sometimes referred to as defining the “social gap” next to the “market gap”.
Having an Ikigai, working on your purpose, is really fulfilling and it is this that creates true happiness, the authors state.
This last dimension helps you to align your core product or service with a social challenge that you might have always addressed with your business or felt drawn to. You might not, however, have put as much emphasis on it yet. Times are changing, businesses are not ‘all about money’ anymore. It is time to start acting on your purpose.
Image based on Ikigai -Francesc Miralles and Héctor Garcia
Tesla and LEGO have Purpose as mission statement
Is this really true? Is purpose really adding value? Let’s look at some interesting examples and learn. Some companies, maybe the BEST companies, have their Purpose as their mission statement. One of the clearest examples is Tesla: Tesla’s mission statement is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. By doing what they do best, what they are passionate about and what they get paid for (building electrical cars), they are also speeding up the transition to a clean energy ecosystem (learn more).
Another mission statement example comes from LEGO: They exist “To inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future – experiencing the endless human possibility.”
Sounds too simple? Then you might have got it just right
Awesome, isn’t it? You can already feel what the benefits of a clear and bold purpose statement are: people that work with you get more engaged and will go the extra mile to be part of your Purpose. Whether they are your employee, client or neighbour.
Those benefits, combined with the dire state of the world, show that having a Purpose is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
‘Future companies will only make profit when they connect their growth to solving a world problem’ states Prof. Michiel Porter from the Harvard Business school.
Let’s team up for change!
This was our second blog about Purpose. Want to discuss with us how your company can start acting on their purpose? Improve employee and customer engagement? Become future-proof? Let’s have a coffee!