Before I worked in the corporate world, I worked in non-profit. It was there I learned the importance of leading with purpose and not just a business plan.
I was 26 years old and a district director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Houston, Texas. Our fundraising goals were challenging so we created a solid plan for achieving them each quarter. We always hit the goal. However, as I look back, I know the pressure to achieve the goal was never what motivated me, my team, or even my boss, to perform.
We hit the goal because we wanted to give hope to the ALS patients who would come into our office each day and help us stuff envelopes, prepare for fundraising events or lend their support in other ways. We hit the goal because we wanted every child suffering from a neuromuscular disease to attend the amazing MDA summer camps that served children with extreme medical needs. We hit the goal because we knew their parents were tired, worried, and needed a break, but they also needed to know their child was in good hands. We hit the goal because we wanted to find a cure.
Many times, leaders get so laser focused on running the business and hitting the numbers, they forget to even mention the purpose behind the work. As you think about your own company, whether you’re a non-profit or not, do you know your company’s purpose and are you sharing that with your team?
Have you talked about why the business got started in the first place? Do you honor and respect the founders? Beyond the financial benefits to the company, do you remind employees of the positive impact your product or service has on the lives of others? Have you talked to customers or employees to see what your company means to them? If not, it’s never too late to start.
The truth is, when you inspire people with purpose… a reason to keep going and keep caring… the performance takes care of itself.