What would the community lose if your company no longer existed? Organizations invest their time, energy and resources in creating vision and mission statements that provide strategic direction for all the stakeholders. As important as they are, the mission and vision of a company remain secondary to the one and only thing that can instill passion and eagerness within all members of the organization: Purpose. Purpose is the fundamental reason for your company’s existence and the main driver of positive results. A sense of purpose begins with people and those people can either be a source of resilience and great accomplishments or an alarm that detects misalignment and points you in the direction of gaps that need to be bridged. When companies resort to purpose, it’s often triggered by a crisis that forces them to experiment with new methods. But the truth is: you should not wait for a crisis to resort to purpose for guidance. Purpose creates a sense of personal and collective meaning that provides a concrete reason for individual endeavors that are deeply fulfilling. Once embedded within the organizational culture, it positively alters employees’ experience and engagement, consequently driving growth, productivity, resilience, and a sustainable competitive edge. Accordingly, as much as the current pandemic situation is testing organizations, the real challenge with purpose begins when the crisis fades.  Building a purpose-driven employee experience requires a lot of commitment. We at ig have created a framework that can help organizations become more purpose-driven and commit to that purpose on the long run:

Visualize

Our Consultant, Amanda Rizkallah, who also is an Aerial Yoga instructor, explained it as follows: “Upon attending a yoga class once, I was asked to close my eyes and picture my body doing the asana (yoga pose) in a perfect manner prior to actually attempting to do it. I was skeptical about the importance of this step, until the instructor explained the following:  “We are asking you to imagine this because the distinction between what is real and what is imagination is not big. It is a very thin line. The real process is happening anyway. If you assist it with the right kind of action and awareness, the real thing will come into the picture.” The same goes for organizational purpose. With the right kind of action and awareness, your ideal purpose-driven culture will become a reality.” Purpose begins with visualizing the ideal state of your organization: How would you like your culture to be? What is the impact you want to have on the community? What should your employees believe in? What can drive passion within each and every member of the organization? Visualization is just as crucial as implementation. It maps out the path for transforming your organization from purely profit-driven to purpose-driven. In your pursuit for excellence, you must find the purpose that drives it, and then picture it embodied in your entire workforce.

Unravel

In your search for purpose, you will unravel fundamental components that already exist within your culture. You might even deduce that your higher purpose already exists.  Empathy is the primary driver in this phase of your process. Your people are your source of information. They are your “purpose compass”. Therefore, organization leaders should ask the right questions, listen and contemplate the responses.  This brings us to the Ikigai concept. Ikigai is “a Japanese word referring to having a direction or purpose in life, providing a sense of fulfillment and towards which the person may take actions, giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning.”  In summary, Ikigai refers to the common point between:
  • What you love
  • What you are good at
  • What the world needs
  • What you can be paid for
Once every individual in the organization is guided towards that common point, it will be much more accessible to align organizational purpose with your people and culture. 

Connect

The final most important step is connecting people to the purpose. In order to have a committed, engaged and passionate workforce, you need leaders and employees who are not only aware of the organization’s purpose but also deeply connected with it.  In order to do this, purpose should be embedded within all the people-related processes and functions of the organization, beginning with the hiring process and reaching towards learning and development as well as performance management.  Recruitment: Part of optimizing your recruitment process is openly connecting the organizational purpose to the criteria required to fit the job role. By supporting your job descriptions with purpose-oriented requirements, you will be able to attract and screen people whose values and purpose fit with the organization. Learning and Development: Most employees want to learn and grow; and when organization leaders give employees a difficult challenge, it demonstrates faith in that person’s potential. Creating purpose-driven learning objectives is a vital step. For example, at ig, our purpose is to make a positive change in the lives of people around us. Our learning and development (L&D) department strongly focuses on ensuring that each and every workshop delivered will have a positive impact on the attendees. Why? Because, as L&D professionals, they believe in developing learning solutions that “stick” and have a long-lasting positive impact on receivers, whether leaders, mid-level managers or front liners. Performance Management: Purpose connects people to their profession. “ I once read a quote that said: “Get in the habit of asking yourself: Does this support the life I am trying to create?” and it resonated with me because this is a question that can apply to any aspect of our lives, including our work. If we get in the habit of asking ourselves: does this action plan, strategy or task support the purpose of this organization and my individual purpose in the workplace?, our performance will inherently become purpose-driven.” – ig ConsultantAdditionally, linking key performance indicators (KPIs) to purpose helps employees become more open and ready to receive any form of feedback.  When organizational purpose is visualized, unraveled and connected to its people, every member of the organization will be able to draw energy from that sense of purpose, even during the toughest and most challenging situations. Purpose is not just an ideal that is “nice to have”; it has practical consequences on your organization’s performance, financial stance and its competitiveness in the market. People who find value in what they do become naturally dedicated and engaged.  Reach for the power of purpose and watch your organization and your people thrive.                                    

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