Create a clear, worthwhile purpose for your organization. How you develop a meaningful purpose?
Involve people throughout the organization to develop and distill the essence of why your organization exists. Don’t simply rely on the executive team to develop and then dictate the purpose to the group. And certainly don’t rely on an outside business to create your purpose for you! It has been my experience that a well-defined statement of purpose is a single sentence, crafted to capture the essence of “why” the organization exists using as few words as possible and resonating when read or spoken. This brings clarity and energy to it, and makes it much easier to keep in mind when making decisions and policies. A clear Purpose is the driving force behind all successful organizations.

Mission defines what the organization does to achieve its Purpose. The better defined an organization’s mission is, the easier it is to choose among the many opportunities that will present themselves. A mission – the means to achieve the Purpose - can be fairly narrow or be somewhat broad. However, one that is too narrow can unduly restrict an organization from considering opportunities that would otherwise be an excellent fit, and one that is too broad offers no guidance at all and may cause an organization to spread itself too thin, do a poor job at everything, and essentially dilute its effectiveness.

Values define how the Mission will be carried out in an effort to achieve the Purpose. They define the “rules of the game”. Some of them will come to mind quite easily - things like honesty, courtesy, kindness, and ethics. But some other important values will only surface when brainstorming takes place - when different perspectives and voices are heard. Values like authenticity and vulnerability may be placed on the table for consideration. (Which, by the way, are two essential qualities of an exceptional leader.) It doesn’t matter which values are decided upon as being important to the organization. What is important however, is that whatever they are, everyone in the organization lives by them and supports them. It’s important that the policies and decisions of the organization are in alignment with them. If the organization has an acknowledged list of values it purports to live by and then chooses to ignore them, the list becomes a sore point and acts as a negative reflection of what kind of organization you really lead.

Recruit to a Purpose
When we try to motivate someone it either doesn’t work or at best simply gets them to go through the motions. The key therefore, is getting the right people on board in the first place; people who are self-motivated. What’s the best way to achieve this goal? Recruit to a Purpose. By recruiting to your purpose, you attract candidates that believe in what you believe in. They join you not only to make a great living, but to accomplish something more – something meaningful. They decide to make a living by helping people in some way. Conversely, people that come on board without some driving purpose will work to just to get the job done and no more. They tend to lack the self-motivation you want. Work on developing a way to screen candidates to best determine whether they are aligned to your organization’s culture. Once you’re clear on your overriding Purpose, this process becomes fairly apparent.

Appeal to the Purpose
Once you have a clear Purpose developed (along with the associated Mission and set of Values), over-communicate it! Starting with your new-employee orientation, drive the message home. Make sure you live and breathe your Purpose. Don’t make the message trite by putting up posters around the office and the business; instead speak it (sincerely) at every opportunity. Make certain your performance reviews take into account how well the person lived up to the Purpose. Ask yourself whether each business decision, system and policy will take you closer to or further from your Purpose.

When a business has clearly defined its Purpose, Mission, and Values, then all decisions, policies, and actions will have a means to keep them on course and you will have an organization which attracts and keeps the best!

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Written by Michael Beck, “Head Zookeeper” at , a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:
Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.