There are 2 ways leaders come to lead their business with purpose. Some start their business with a view to serving a greater goal. Others create their purpose as they discover more about the business that they are leading.
Both approaches are valid. However, those leaders who grow purpose rather than starting with it can often face cynicism. Not unsurprisingly. Those who have been with them either as team members, customers or observers may recall a time when the purpose was rarely if ever mentioned, and so wonder about its motivation.
To the cynics I say give it time, and cut the leader some slack. Time will tell whether s/he is truly serving the purpose or whether it’s exploitation of our desire for purpose solely for financial goals.
But more, I’d also say get behind it. Because if you do, you’ll help build momentum to convert the company into one that *is* more purpose-led. Which in turn will motivate the leader even more to put action behind the purpose.
And to the leaders, I say don’t be discouraged from articulating AND serving the purpose. In personal relationships (are we allowed to mention these here professionally?), often simply the articulation of a feeling can tangibly change things. Just telling your partner those 3 words the fist time noticeably changes the relationship.There’s a power behind articulation.
It’s the same in business. Don’t shy from repeating and backing up your purpose. As you do it, you’ll find that you’ll deepen your and your company’s relationship with that purpose. Which, if you’ve got your commercial model right, means you’ll better serve that purpose as it better serves you, your team, your customers and your community.
Unless, of course, you’re the CEO of a tobacco company. Then all bets are off!