According to Adam Sicinski passion is an energy source for living an inspired life that is driven by purposeful action. Passion is your vision for your life. Passion is born from trying new things and from broadening your horizons. Venturing outside your comfort zone to gain the necessary experiences and inspire purposeful action.
Passion is what shapes your purpose in life and in business.
Shared purpose unfolds through the love for your work, for life, for the challenges you face, your failures, and for making a positive difference in other people’s lives.
Shared purpose is a unique lens on the world that shapes not only who you are, but who you connect with and what opportunities you pursue.
That same shared purpose is what brings together both internal employees and external partners and customers. That shared passion, that shared belief, is what motivates people, gives them the sense of belonging and excites them about accomplishing the same mission.
According to Deloitte research, high performing companies recognize that success depends on three things: keeping good people, keeping them engaged and productive, and understanding that these two aims are not one and the same.
Purpose is critical for long-term success
According to Professor Alex Edmans at London Business School, organisations cannot thrive without purpose.
A company’s purpose is its intrinsic reason for existing – to use technology to transform customers’ lives for the better, to develop its employees, or to preserve the environment for future generations.
This contrasts profits, which are an extrinsic goal.
The most important assets in the twenty-first century firm are intangible – a company’s corporate culture, innovative capability, and environmental sustainability.
Purposeful companies will make an investment simply because it is the right thing to do – because it’s consistent with its mission – rather than because it expects an instrumental payoff.
The Purposeful Company Project, released by the UK’s Big Innovation Centre, highlights the critical role of purpose to the modern firm.
The project combines academic evidence with insights from companies (C-level executives and directors at the likes of Kingfisher, GSK, Barclays, PwC, EY), investors (e.g. Fidelity, Hermes, Alliance Trust), policymakers (the Bank of England, whose chief economist Andy Haldane serves on the steering group), and think tanks (Big Innovation Centre, Innovate UK).
Purpose is critical for a firm’s long-term success.
In particular, purpose “glues” the different stakeholders of an organisation – customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and investors – towards a common mission.
A sense of purpose encourages stakeholders to go above and beyond – for an employee to mentor subordinates even if not explicitly rewarded by a bonus.
The research shows that ethical treatment of workers is associated with 2-3% higher stock returns per year.
But it’s no good just stopping with the message that purpose is desirable. How do companies actually pursue purpose in the modern world when there are very real short-term pressures?
Options include changes to executive incentives (longer vesting periods for equity), shareholder structure (encouraging large shareholders who have the incentive to engage with the firms they own), disclosure (communicating purpose in company statements and accounting for intangibles), and corporate governance (giving firms the flexibility to adopt structures that favour stakeholders rather than only short-term shareholders).
The evidence is clear:
To reach the land of profit, follow the road of purpose.
According to Joe Morrow and Vince Cavasin of Morningstar Consulting Group, good leaders create an organization with a purpose that rises above the bottom line; great leaders go a step further, finding ways to leverage the passion of each employee in order to create incentives that transcend financial rewards.
Great leaders rely on a simple, timeless idea in order to create passionate, purposeful workplaces: the highest purpose. That’s shared purpose.
The first step in creating a workplace that promotes shared purpose is to determine your organization’s purpose or reason for existing. This purpose must go beyond financial concerns and speak to the ancient, growth-inspiring question of contribution to society. Some of the oldest, most successful companies in the world — e.g. Johnson & Johnson (founded 1886), GE (1892), Citicorp (1812) — owe their success to the relentless pursuit of a single, society-impacting purpose.
The next step is to create the intrinsic incentives that motivate employees to work towards the organization’s purpose; these incentives are based on passion.
Great leaders create environments where employees embrace the corporate purpose, and have numerous opportunities to discover how their individual passions support it.
Attributes of such an environment include:
- Clearly articulated organizational purpose – Leaders must communicate corporate purpose clearly to all employees, demonstrate the relationship between individual passion and corporate purpose, and to constantly keep the relevance of purpose and passion clear for all employees.
- Complimentary extrinsic and intrinsic rewards – While passion in pursuit of purpose must come from within, you can reinforce it with extrinsic rewards. These can range from adding a cultural component to performance reviews to tying financial compensation to purpose-related corporate goals.
- Trust – Just as you can’t enforce passion, you can’t impose responsibility and accountability; these must come from within each employee, and they can only arise when there is a pervasive environment of trust among employees.
Leadership by example – Leaders must be passionate, self-aware, and self-confident. They must promote passion, purpose, and growth to the same degree they promote financial objectives.
Having a shared purpose leadership mentality implies the conscious choice to live a life of meaning and to create an environment for all those around us to do the same.
Keep your finger on the pulse of the organization. Provide open blogs and communication tools to help people talk openly about what they need—and what they particularly value.
Find out what makes them passionate about work.
Make sure the organization is feeding employees’ needs for purpose and meaningful work.
CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHALLENGE AND DEVELOPMENT.
GIVE EVERY EMPLOYEE—NOT ONLY HIGH PERFORMERS OR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES—OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD NETWORKS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION, ALONG WITH SKILLS AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES.
According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends, today’s most successful employment brands align business and corporate objectives with the professional, personal, and social goals of their employees.
They provide an environment where employees believe they are making a difference, not just clocking their time.
Adopt talent analytics to uncover the hidden drivers of retention.
Design work environment solution sets around the findings to drive greater performance, passion, and retention stickiness.
THE SECRET IS DESIGNING A SUITE OF SYSTEMS (WORK, CULTURE, FLEXIBILITY, AND SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY PURPOSE) THAT SUPPORTS A TALENT EXPERIENCE THAT MAKES IT EASY FOR INDIVIDUALS TO CONTINUALLY REENLIST FOR THEIR TOUR OF DUTY.
When it comes to retention and engagement, high performance managers focus on growing a talent brand that weaves together the critical elements of work itself, the desire for personal growth and development, the power of passion and shared purpose, and the intrinsic reward of serving society as part of a brand of which employees can be proud.
CHALLENGE YOUR HR LEADERS TO STRUCTURE WORK, JOBS, AND DEVELOPMENT SO THEY ARE INTERWOVEN WITH WHAT PEOPLE DO—AND THE COMPANY’S EMPLOYMENT BRAND.
Challenge the performance management process.
Employ a marketer mindset on your employment brand and talent experience: When competing for customers, companies focus on differentiating their products, services, and customer experience. The same should be true for the talent experience.
Understand and improve diversity and inclusion: People want to work in an environment that respects them and customers are looking for companies that reflect their diversity and perspectives as well.
Create a compelling story to reinforce the power of shared purpose, including determining how to integrate social and community goals into the work and daily activities of the company.