A simple question. Really hard to answer.
Why are you in business. Why do you come to work? Why are you here?
In other words; what is your purpose?
A Purpose Statement speaks to the reason an Organisation exists right now. It talks to employees about the organization's aspirations for customers.
The power of purpose is amazing, as it becomes the lens in which all strategies and initiates are focused. Firstly, it differentiates your execution and allows you to stand out from the crowd. Secondly the right purpose ensures your execution is aligned to the deep-rooted needs and desire of your customers - the underlying true motivation. Remember
“The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions.” -- Donald Calne
I was speaking with a new client in the compliance business, when I asked what their customers really wanted, they said, “we just want to pass their audits and have no issues.” I said, but what do they really want? It took many “yes and” comments to get deeper. It finished with them considering how to make compliance a competitive advantage by making it faster and more efficient to remain compliant. “We’ve got your back.” That’s their purpose. While it’s early days they are seeing their customers and solutions very differently now. Well beyond just getting through the next audit (that’s what their competitors do) they now have their customers’ backs, building more efficient systems and working with customers to improve their systems which will demonstrate compliance in a more efficient way.
When I was working in pharma our purpose statement was:
“An unstoppable drive to restore people’s lives.”
Restore Life speaks to the reason for being, but also the desire of anyone living with a disability or disease. Restore life allows team members to think more expansively about how to do this. “Unstoppable” drove the team to fight the hurdles to keep bringing new and innovative initiatives to life. This Purpose statement was inspiring but was also very clear about what the desired outcome was. Grounded and customer focused.
Our role needed to shift from being a supplier of drugs to a supplier of wellness. We knew that if we did this better than our competitors, patients on our products would get a better outcome and doctors would then prefer to prescribe our products. This gave us a great competitive advantage.
The “Unstoppable Drive” came from how we were working as a business, we were getting things done, where others had failed, we would keep trying until we found a way. We were unstoppable, and the team really related to this concept.
One of the other key insights we had from speaking to patients is that when you have a condition or disease, people’s aspirations change, they just dream and strive to be normal. Their desire is to live a normal life. So, restoring life seemed like a perfect way to say this. This also spoke to the Govt. payer who was looking to make people well and keep people working and contributing back to society.
I couldn’t have imagined how powerful this purpose was, for both myself and my team. We began to think differently about everything. When wellness is the goal, the scope for our work significantly increased. With patient programs, wellness became the goal and this changed what we wanted to offer, we understood wellness is not just physical it is mental and emotional as well. With the lens of wellness and working with patients we found opportunities to support people well beyond the traditional offerings.
An example of this came from another insight. When people are diagnosed with a condition, they want to speak to others living with the same condition. This drove our team to build an online community for people to be able to speak with other people with the same condition. It was a huge success and we had patients feeling the community was as much as the medicine helped them recover. The community was so supportive of one-another, it was amazing to see the beauty of humanity and people caring for each other. People from all walks of life united together with a desire to help each other make tomorrow a better day.
Your purpose is the foundation for everything going forward, it is the genesis. This statement will inspire you and your teams every day to bounce out of bed and go to work! Importantly also having integrated this into your Organisation, will also resonate with your customers. When your customers read it, they would say, “I want to work with this company!”.