If you’re about to spend time and money on a purpose initiative in your company, the first step is to undertake a critical review of your company purpose statement to ensure it’s a solid foundation on which to engage and activate your people.
So, what makes a powerful purpose statement? There’s many essential things to consider in writing a statement whether that’s for a company, team or individual. If you already have a purpose statement, test it against this checklist. If you don’t have one, now’s the time to think about it and get started on it with The Purpose Project (see pages 95-99).
Here’s 13 essential ingredients of a great statement:
- Your statement say’s what you do, not just why you do it.
- It contains three components; a verb; an intention; and an outcome or beneficiary.
- It’s inspirational and motivational. Employees know why they’re turning up to work every day.
- It’s practical and actionable. Employees know what they’re meant to be doing at work.
- It’s never achieved, yet remains both the guiding north-star and the glue.
- It’s the guide for decision-making and the foundation on which strategy is built.
- It’s sincere and authentic and written straight, not necessarily great.
- It’s co-created and co-owned by everyone, not just the ad agency or executive team.
- It’s applicable and motivational to every stakeholder, not just employees or customers.
- Every word has earned its right to be in the statement.
- It contains between 6 and 20 words and no more.
- Everyone knows it, can state it and is proud of it.
- People know how to act on it and can tell stories on how it’s brought to life in the company.
And here’s 10 of the best to check off to the above list:
KeepCup: To kick-start the demise of the disposable cup.
Interface: To become fully sustainable with zero negative impact by 2020.
Patagonia: To build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Templestowe College: To help students take control of their own learning.
Etsy: To reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.
Atlassian: To unleash the power in every team.
Safety Culture: To make safety available to every worker in the world.
ThoughtWorks: To better humanity through software and help drive the creation of a socially and economically just world.
Getup: To give every-day Australians the chance to make extraordinary impact – online, across the airwaves, and in the streets.
1 Million Women: To build a movement of strong, inspirational women and girls acting on climate change through the way we live.
So, now to my own purpose. I actually have two. The first one is “to write books that truly matter”, the second is “to unearth a higher purpose in people and organisations”.
Perhaps I can help you find, create and activate your purpose, while I also achieve mine? All change starts with a purpose conversation. Please connect with me if you’d like a chat.
Yours on purpose