Start out with a purpose, not a plan

To be honest, I LOVE to strategize. But, planning by itself is boring. In the last few weeks, I’ve been asked to look at a few business ideas and projects. The central question being: Does the plan look like it is in order?

Me: Nope.

Them: What’s missing?

Me: Why are you doing this? What’s your purpose? Why is this cool? Are you waking up everyday to follow a script?

Them: Dunno.

You remember what you care about. Not goals and metrics.

Check this out, only 14% of employees understand their company’s strategy. The reason employees don’t understand their company’s strategy, IMO, is because it doesn’t resonate with them.

Here’s an example of what does resonate:

Zappos purpose: To build the greatest customer service brand in the world, a company whose mission is not simply to deliver products but to deliver happiness.

Different that your conventional mission statement isn’t it? Does it make sense to you? Can you remember it? Does it resonate? Does it inspire you?

Real leadership is inspiring. Not coercion or superficial motivation. Purpose matters. Want more proof?

It’s the “Inspiration Deficit” Stupid

Business today faces an inspiration deficit as demonstrated recently by “The How Report,” an independent study that LRN conducted with the Boston Research Group and Research Data Technology.

The report found that CEOs are six times more likely than “average workers” to believe they work in a company where people are inspired. Employees said they were primarily coerced (84%) or motivated (12%) by carrots and sticks at work rather than inspired by values and a commitment to a mission and purpose (4%).

Yet the study reveals that companies that do inspire their people through values significantly outperform those who don’t. These companies experience higher levels of innovation, employee loyalty, and customer satisfaction, and lower levels of misconduct, employee fear of speaking up, and retaliation.

Got that?

Don’t start out with a plan. Begin with “Why?” I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan, just plan with a purpose in mind. Purpose matters.

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