Staring at a blank Word doc, not knowing where to start with your purpose statement? Learn three questions you can ask yourself and your team to help you craft a purpose statement. Also, see examples of real purpose statements being used today, and a few things to avoid as you start the creative process.
- Let's be honest. Most purpose statements are pretty boring. Perhaps you've seen something like this on a lobby plaque. We strive to provide value to the community, the shareholders, the employees, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's kind of a long-winded way of saying we're going to be nice to everyone and make money while we're doing it. You know, this kind of milquetoast messaging, it never makes anyone's heart beat faster. So let's get clear. An effective purpose focuses on one thing, the impact you have on customers.
Your purpose should sit at the front and center of your commercial model. So after you identify who your actual customers are, who pays for your services, ask yourself what impact does our product or service have on their lives and businesses? Now, think really deeply about this. What's the ripple effect of your offering? What would happen if your solution didn't exist? Your purpose is the North Star for your team. It's the rallying cry.
I call it noble purpose, because I believe that making a difference to customers is a noble endeavor. For example, in our consulting firm, our noble purpose is we help leaders drive revenue and do work that makes them proud. To come up with your own purpose statement, you need to answer the three discovery questions. How do you make a difference? How do you do it differently? And on your best day, what do you love about your job? Ask these questions of yourself and of your team.
And in the answers you'll start to see the seeds of a purpose statement. Here's some example noble purpose statements from our clients. G Adventures is a Canadian-based adventure travel company, and their purpose is we help people discover more passion, purpose, and happiness. Hootsuite is a social media management company, and they say we champion the power of human connection. Porter Keadle Moore is an Atlanta-based accounting firm, and their statement is we help clients seize opportunity and reduce risk.
When you have your purpose statement roughed out, ask yourself, is it short? Is it easy to understand? Is it concrete? Would you be proud for your customers to read it? If the answer to any of these is no, workshop it some more with your team. Just keep that magic formula for engagement in mind. Specificity and emotion, it's the secret to creating a team that will not be stopped.
- Articulate the financial impact of purpose on business results
- Identify who your customer is and describe how you help them
- Integrate purpose and performance
- Develop qualitative metrics that provide a forward looking-lens into performance
- Foster a mindset of purpose in a quota-driven sales culture using active sales coaching
- Integrate an organizational purpose into decision making and strategy