Struck by Paulo Coelho’s quote, “Life without a cause is life without an effect,” I went under a rock and pondered…
To really make a difference, as organizations, we cannot focus only on the bottom line, on the shareholder’s value.
I believe we need to consider the broader community, a greater purpose…And our sense of purpose provides energy.
Organizations thrive on energy – with that energy comes the power to move mountains and achieve the unthinkable.
We must take a hard look at the world around us and search our hearts to find a deeper meaning towards which we can be passionate. We need to find something so important that we think is vitally needed in the world and something so noteworthy that the world needs us to rally people around that.
It is simply not enough to have a good business idea to build a great company. We also must feel a deeper sense of purpose and the desire to impact the world.
Organizations that combine great ideas and vision with a deeper purpose are eventually able to thrive through the ups and downs in that journey, and are able to build legacies for the future. They can attract and retain the best people. They can distinguish themselves from others. The systems and processes organizations put in place make sense and are integrated and synergetic.
Arlene Dickinson built her empire around Planet, People and Profit – clean and focused – quite inspiring actually.
I took it a bit further:
PURPOSE —–> PICTURE —–> PEOPLE —–> PASSION —–> PROFIT
Clarity of purpose is a foundation for the Vision – a clear and compelling Picture of the Future. People are drawn towards that vision and get excited and Passionate about the cause and the direction. That causes commitment and engagement, helping to achieve organizational success, financial viability, and Profit…
How do we make it happen? Many steps need to be taken, but here are a few basics:
1. We need to be clear as to our fundamental reason for being, such as The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ “[We] offer only experiences of exceptional quality,” Google’s “Doing Good,” and CAA’s “Make a Difference in lives of our employees, partners, customers, communities”
2. Be committed in action to whatever you pursue, and may you always reach your higher purpose or a loftier calling. Think of TOMS Shoes & Eyewear’s One-for-One Movement – One pair sold, One pair donated – actually makes a difference. Xstrata’s connection to the communities where they operate revolutionizes the approach to mining and reshapes the image of the mining industry.
3. Give real meaning to the values we have often laminated in our boardrooms – reward teamwork if this is your value, not independent contributions.
4. Have leaders who see their role as something bigger than their job description. They need to have clarity as to their individual purpose within their organization and within their life. In this sense, leadership should be a calling and not a job…Leaders therefore should provide meaning to work. They care for the growth of people: they coach, and they see performance management as a string of ongoing conversations and not as an event. They see Leadership Development as a never-ending process and not a checkmark. They give content to the succession planning and talent management. They role model the culture and values.
5. Surround yourself with partners and stakeholders who are aligned with your values and direction. Be very conscious about the choices you make daily, both from the external perspective (your customers, suppliers, and vendors) and the internal perspective (your employees). It means that you should have the courage to be discriminating with whom you associate. And disciplined about how you select and reward people around you.
At MarchFifteen we try to consciously live our purpose:
- to advance business through people
- to remain connected to the community; and
- to take responsibility for the well-being of those around us.
Looking back – starting the new venture and following a vision – a dream was tremendously exciting. We keep working hard and bringing relevant perspectives and advice to our clients. Our partnership with Altruvest is just another step in our evolution.
Life without cause is life without effect.
Hmm… more musings to come