Creating the Ecosystem of a Purpose-Driven Organization
Late last year a survey was conducted that showed a strong percentage of individuals in corporate America shared the intentions of pursuing new work once the pandemic settled down. Even before the pandemic, Gallup had done surveys that showed us two-thirds of the workforce, according to their own admission, were disengaged.
Additionally, according to a recent Forbes article, we are entering the throes of a Turnover Tsunami. Even if you replace lost personnel, turnover is costly to an organization. Not only in the changes in team mechanics, culture, learning curve, but also they hit the bottom-line.
In my 25 + years of experience working in Corporate America in Sales, Leadership, and my 30 years of study in personal development, organizational health, performance optimization, well-being, and leadership I know one thing for sure….
This answer is multi-faceted.
I have created this blog specifically for those who truly want to address this issue within their own organization and are ready to make the changes within themselves and their leadership to make it happen. The nature of this approach is holistic in nature. Think of it as seeing an Integrative Medicine Doctor or a Naturopath. A methodology to treat the entire system. Get to the root cause as opposed to merely treat the symptom.
Below are the 9 core tenants necessary to build an organization that is purpose-driven.
Number One: Optimizing Wellbeing
All of us only perform at the level our health and wellbeing allow. It is an optimizer and a limiter. For example, when we are not taking care of ourselves, we get sick, or not doing the right things to manage our stress, everything suffers.
People are leaving corporate America in droves because they are burnt out with no quality of life or tools within their workplace to help them fix it. Stress is the result of living a non-balanced and non-harmonious life. Some examples of things organizations can do to fix this are things like health and wellness programs, mindfulness and meditation classes, and any tool that aids them in living a healthy lifestyle.
Stress and tension are contagious in the workplace. When the pandemic first began, many Fortune 500 companies started bringing in meditation teachers like Deepak Chopra to help their employees navigate the changes and for meditation. For many years meditation has been something we use with our clients, and it has paid huge dividends.
Number Two: Values Alignment
People that are truly engaged in a business have core values that are in alignment with the values of the company, the owners, and the leadership team. The pandemic has made any incongruence in values even more apparent. Many employees had the time to realize what was truly important to them– spending more time with family, creating memorable experiences, or making a positive impact on their communities.
We often find this comes up in our work with family businesses. Typically when people choose to work for a family business, they see that their leaders and ownership value their families and there is a resonance there. They know that the person at the helm understands what is important to them and will create a culture that supports it.
Of course, the first step in aligned values is being clear on what your values are. We do values surveys and audits as part of our discovery process to help folks get clarity.
Number Three: An Aligned Vision
One of the first things we do with almost all of our clients is a Vision Workshop that helps folks clarify what they truly want in every area of their life. We use our Six Pillar Methodology. The first step is navigating the Hierarchy of Fulfillment. [Get these resources here.]
For anyone to be truly fulfilled they need to be living each day in a way that they can see is putting them on track to create the life experiences they want and the kind of life they want to live. Example: If an employee has a vision of wanting to be able to prioritize travel and have the option to work remotely and your organization can’t get them there, you’re at a higher risk for turnover.
Today’s workforce has values that are much different than they were even a decade ago and we need to be ready to adjust our mindset and our practices to follow suit. They often value fulfillment and experiences over money. They know how they want to live, where they want to go, and the money they need to make to drive the life they want. They will only feel engaged in an organization that gives them the resources to make this a reality.
Number Four: The Greater Good
There is a more conscious consumer today who is choosing the brands they support based on the values of the company as well as their focus on the world at large. Employees are looking for the same. They want to see and believe that the company they choose to be a part of is making the world a better place.
Take a brand like Patagonia, for example, which is known for its aggressive environmental advocacy. As someone who loves wine, I am a huge supporter of Frog’s Leap–– a biodynamic, organic winery that really cares about the environment. They live and work in integrity to what they say they value. I recently interviewed John Williams, the founder of Frog’s Leap. The podcast episode can be found here. People would rather support and work for companies like these than a company that doesn’t show up in a way that proves they want to make a difference in their greater community and the world as a whole. Having an impact, making the world a better place, and seeing it build purpose.
Number Five: Being Part of a Team
This tenant is largely about the energy and environment of your company. With rapid changes to the way people work together, much of the sense of community was lost with the switch to remote work. Is there a true sense of camaraderie on your team?
Of course, we thrive when we enjoy the company of those we spend time with but more importantly we need to be able to TRUST everyone on our team to pull their own weight, support us when we need help, and have open and vulnerable conversations with one another without judgment.
Reminder: The leadership team members of an organization are the ones who set the tone and environment for the rest of the team. If leadership doesn’t also view themselves as members of the team and set the example of vulnerability, the team can never truly get there.
Number 6: Strengths Identified and Developed
You are probably familiar with at least one or two of the tools out there, like Strengths Finder. In our team and with our clients we use the PRINT Survey. When using tools like this, we are looking to see how a role is aligned to someone’s strengths and not just putting them in a seat just because they can check boxes and perform a certain function.
We want to make sure that at least 75% of everyone’s time and energy is truly spent in an area where they are utilizing their strengths. Another important piece of this is having development programs in place to continue to develop strengths and damage control weaknesses. A key part of fulfillment and happiness in any position is the ease of knowing that what you are doing is utilizing your strengths and talent. This, along with knowing that their organization is willing to invest money in developing them builds engagement and trust.
Development should also take a holistic approach and include work on things like communication, mindset shifts, leadership, and collaboration that better the person as a whole.
Number 7: Impact
Can everyone in your organization see that what they are doing personally is making an impact on the company? When results are lumped together without the ability for individuals to see the direct impact of what they are doing, it can end up feeling like their efforts don’t truly matter. This also takes regular feedback and consistent systems.
Some positions are more difficult than others for individuals to see how the work they are doing impacts the overall organization. Taking time to educate and provide ongoing feedback that shows appreciation is critical. The larger an organization, the more this needs to be emphasized.
Number 8: Faith in Leadership
I talked about this a bit in tenant number five– being part of a team. But on top of feeling like leadership is truly on the same team as them, employees need more from their leaders.
They need to know that leaders–
- truly care about them and their wellbeing
- have the discernment to make decisions best for the team
- have the ability to navigate a competitive marketplace and ensure the longevity of the company
- are living in congruence with the company’s values
- are all on the same page
- take responsibility for their decisions
- are vulnerable and open-minded
- believe in the mission of the company
One of Simon Sinek’s greatest quotes is “Average leaders give people something to work on. Great leaders give people something to work for.”
Number Nine: Organizational Health
The final tenant is the overall health of the organization. Organizational health can be largely measured by whether or not people are willing and inspired to be an equal part of a team and are willing to give up self-interest for the greater good.
They are open to being vulnerable with one another. They are comfortable creating healthy conflict. They push back on ideas in a healthy way. They are empowered to be creative and innovative. They are encouraged to create a higher level of accountability. A level where even employees can hold their leaders and peers accountable so that everyone is contributing to results. A great resource on this topic is the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.
Also, consider the environment and the energy in it. The unit of a team is one where people feed off one another. Imagine a workplace that challenges us all, but also has grace and ease. Imagine a workplace that is fun and where no one takes themselves too seriously.
Every employee in any company really wants to know… “Do you really care about me? Can I trust the organization to get me where I want to go and do you have my best interest at heart?”
Our firms were built to solve a problem for humanity. To improve the human condition, to make the world a better place.
If any of this speaks to you and you would like to explore how to start this work within your organization, please reach out. We have created several formats and programs to bring this important work to teams in a way that is attainable and creates permanent changes in your organization.