How Purpose Guides You Through the Tough Decisions

In a recent post, I mentioned that a leader’s greatest power is in his or her ability to set a vision that people understand and want to follow. You can’t do that without purpose.

I’ve coached many CEOs of mid-market companies, both young and seasoned executives, who seek my advice regarding tough decisions – revamping their executive team, seeking expansion capital, or selling the business. Sometimes the right path becomes obvious after a deeper discussion. Other times it’s not so clear, and the CEO decides to make a decision based on gut instinct.

It’s at this point that I asked him or her, “Is your decision aligned with your company purpose?”

If the CEO and his or her leadership team have already defined their purpose, the right course becomes clear.

If they haven’t, there is greater uncertainty.

Defining Your Company Purpose

The steps to properly walk you through the process of defining your purpose require more space than I have in this post, but on overview, your purpose is the ultimate reason the market accepts you; it’s the essence of why your market presence survives; it’s the GPS of your company. When making strategic decisions, always refer to your purpose ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the decision support our purpose?
  • Does the decision strengthen our purpose?

If you haven’t yet defined your company purpose, consider adding it to your year-end calendar. The end of the year is a great time to get away from the day-to-day chaos of the typical mid-market company and think about where you’ve been and where you’re heading.

If you decide to move forward with it now, here are two key points to remember:

  • Your purpose is your higher calling—your reason for being. Identify the impact you want your company to make on your chosen market and even the world at large.
  • A purpose is never to turn a profit. Profit is an essential byproduct of well-run companies. An effective purpose reflects people’s idealistic motivations for doing the company’s work. It doesn’t just describe the organization’s output or target customers; it captures the soul of the organization and it’s the ultimate reason people desire to work at the company.

Clarifying your purpose could be the single activity that creates the greatest long-term value for your company. Do not avoid it. Your Fortune 500 counterparts have done it, and research shows that it enhances company value.

If you’re like more help, download my book, ShortTrack CEO, and follow the steps that start on page 110.

If you’d like my direct guidance, connect with me.





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