Hmm…who is up for this question? I mean, really up for it?
We could easily come back with a simple quip which is that organisations exist to make money.
Yet legally if you are a corporation, your number one purpose is to make a profit for your shareholders. (Unless you are a B Corporation.)
So why do organisations exist?
And why do they deserve our energy, talents and skills? Or our custom?
Organisations exists to enable people to co-ordinate activity to produce/deliver a good or service that cannot be done by one person alone. Inherent in this is an agreement to come together and apply individual skills and talents to create outcomes that exceed the outcome of a single person. (synergy)
The basic keys therefore are co-ordination, production/delivery and synergy.
Prior to the organisation becoming manifest in the world there needs to be an idea. This idea can be raw….make a specific car part, build a web site that serves ‘x’, deliver a service to enable better HR practices, etc.
And if we dig a little deeper, there is usually a purpose. Problem is almost no one in any organisation, including the CEO, can clearly speak of this. And if they can, there is often not one but a thousand purposes, many of them not in the least bit aligned. Then within that there are as many people in the organisation’s own individual purposes, which again, few people can articulate.
Given all of this, we might just have uncovered a case of difficulty in co-ordination, and synergy. As a result, to co-ordinate and create synergy, we are going to have to spend about 1/3 of the organisations time and budget to get people moving in approximately the right direction for approximately the right reasons. And even then, when they do, their heart and soul is unlikely to be fully engaged.
Being super clear and 100% aligned to a deeply inspiring purpose as an organisation, and building everything…every single little thing…around that…removes a massive layer of hard work to build in co-ordination, responsibility, accountability, creativity…plus it easily attracts the kind of people who have a heartfelt and soulful response to the organisations purpose.
By the way, this is not about mission statements. Or value statements on some foyer wall. This is about knowing, in your bones, every day, day in day out, why you have come together and what you are spending your precious time creating. And having that matter so very much to you.
Why does your organisation exist? Are you able to answer this in one or two very short sentences? And will everyone else in your organisation be able to do the same, giving a very similar answer?
Get this foundation right and save yourself a whole lot of trouble…..oh…and if you really want an organisation that goes off the charts, make sure that your purpose is heartfelt and soulful to everyone, including the people you serve. This then will create what Kevin Roberts calls a LOVEMARK.