The most critical step is to understand and be convinced of the need for purpose in your organization. This is the foundation that will affect every other action. You need to have a clearly articulable reason – both to yourself and to your people – about why purpose is important in the first case. There are a few questions to consider:
Are you interested in purpose because it’s a trend?
We are social creatures that follow each other’s behavior – many times without giving it our own thought. Business leaders are no exception to this, and there are many ideas which are popular which compel people to adopt it – even if it may not be useful for them. In this case, purpose is useful to the vast majority of companies, but your reason for implementing it has to be right.
Do you clearly see the benefits?
As the goal is efficiency and results, any idea in business needs to have clear benefits for it to be adopted across the company. When it comes to a decision like purchasing a new software, it is much easier to evaluate the benefits, implementation and potential risks. As organizational purpose is intangible, it can be harder to see and measure the benefits of this change. This means you have to familiarize yourself deeply with the benefits such as increased engagement, productivity, brand equity and corporate innovation. And where possible, look at practical case studies of purpose in other organizations.
Are there deeper issues you are trying to compensate for?
Purpose could be said to represent the spirit of your organization. The intangible bind that holds everything together and animates the separate elements of your company. However, it is not the ultimate solution to all of your problems, and you need to ensure that you aren’t using it to fill holes in deeper cracks. For instance, if you have simply hired the wrong people, your culture is toxic or you don’t have a competitive product, purpose won’t magically fix these problems. It can however act as a catalyst to greater change and a new direction.
Are you committed to seeing it through?
Like with anything you are trying to convince someone about, you have to first convince yourself. If you haven’t fully bought into the idea, people will pick up on this and you will struggle to make the idea stick. Not only that, you won’t have the consistency and vigor needed to see the change through to fruition. It’s not something that will happen overnight – it takes sustained effort and champions that will lead the cause.