Do your people come into work feeling inspired, motivated and excited about what they’re doing everyday? Does your organization have a culture of passion, purpose and greatness which attracts talent looking for meaning in their work life?
If your answer to the above questions is no, then you need to read this. Drop what you are currently doing, take 5 minutes and read. How can you unleash your organization’s greatness as a leader? Greatness is a choice, a way of being, a code. It is hard to quantify but impossible to miss. Greatness draws people. It makes customers loyal and teams superheroes. Greatness is not only about what we do but more about who we become in the process. You have greatness in you and in your team, now I know, that we sometimes doubt that when we look at the motley crew we have to work with everyday. But, seriously, whether you’re a CEO, manager or a team leader one of your biggest responsibilities is unleashing the greatness that lies untapped in your people. The question is how do you do it?
I get invited to speak around the world on “Unleashing Your Greatness“, because great leaders understand that greatness is possible for everyone and that it’s an inside job. The first key to unleashing your greatness is to Be Who You Be, which is about defining and embracing your distinction – clarifying what sets you apart from the crowd in the marketplace.
Most organizations are good at what they do, they are successful in achieving their pre-determined set of goals. However, most organizations realize that there is more possible for them then they are currently achieving.
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness back into humanity, but to elicit it, for greatness is there already.”John Buchan
John Buchan nailed it when he said “The task of leadership is not to put greatness back into humanity, but to elicit it, for greatness is there already.” The task of leadership is first recognizing the greatness that is inherently present in people and then go about the task of eliciting it. One of the ways you can help your team or organization to unleash their greatness is by getting them to be more purpose driven.
If you work in a non-profit that helps animals, children or deals with another great cause, finding purpose in what you do is not very hard. This is one of the reasons that many people who work for profit companies often spend their extra/free time volunteering in non-profits, to find meaning and to make a difference. However, purpose is not only the reserve of the non-profits. Any organization can be purpose driven and that in turn helps to unleash the true potential impact the organization can make in its chosen field and in its people.
Why is purpose so vital for unleashing greatness? The short answer is that we all want to find meaning in our work. Humans are hard wired to seek purpose in what they do, they want to know that their hard work is for a good reason. Nothing is more demotivating as working hard on something that yields little or no value. Purpose is about finding meaning in what you do and this in turn creates inspiration to be the best at what you do and that’s where greatness is unleashed.
“The best way to establish a culture of purpose is by hiring change leaders who are committed to building one.”Christoph Lueneburger, author of “A Culture of Purpose”
In his book Lueneburger suggests that to create the culture of purpose you need to hire and put the right leaders in place. While I agree with this sentiment, I do not believe that getting the right culture in place is only a hiring exercise. I believe that existing leaders can be invited to be purpose driven and create a purpose driven culture, those who refuse to be part of the transformation can then be asked to create space for the right leaders for where the organization is going.
So here is where to start in creating a purpose driven culture:
Connect Your People With Your Purpose
Give people a big WHY we do what we what we do. This is about getting people really committed to the organization’s global mission and direction.
“Purpose is about where your company’s journey is taking you. Culture is the combination of values and habits that will get you there.”Adam Fridman
So, according to Adam Fridman, “Purpose is the why of your organization. Purpose is what gives work meaning. Putting it another way, purpose is about where your company’s journey is taking you. Culture is the combination of values and habits that will get you there.” When your team is connected with your organization’s purpose at a deeper level it makes it easier for the culture that reflects that purpose to emerge. Connecting your people to your purpose is a result of clear communication and leading by example. It’s not only important to communicate your purpose, but to also demonstrate it in your values that are lived out in your day to day behaviour.
Great leaders make it a habit to start their communication by referencing the purpose, the why we do what we do. They also create a culture of questioning decisions and behaviours against that purpose. They frequently point people back to the compass or the North Star, when they get caught up in the nitty-gritty of doing business and lose sight of the why behind the work. Purpose should provide inspiration and meaning and must be worth striving for. If you are not clear about your organization’s purpose, maybe it’s time you revise your organization’s mission and purpose statements so that they can provide meaning and direction.
Align Your Values To Your Purpose
If purpose is the direction your company is on, values are the roadmap that will keep you headed in the right direction. In Unleashing Your Greatness, I put a great emphasis on living your values, because values shape behaviour. If you want to understand my values, watch my behaviour. Great companies commit to a set of values that can influence behaviour directly and they hire and fire people based on these values. Values, like purpose, are ideals that guide decision making and behaviour. Most organizations have great values on paper/posters but terrible ones in action. Someone once said if you want to see the organization’s real values watch how leaders behave towards their subordinates, everything else is just conjecture! Don’t just talk about values but show how your values connect to and lead to your purpose being fulfilled.
Create A Purpose Culture Through Habits
To complete the loop you have to get your purpose and values to become second nature and part of your culture through your habits. This is about what you do, while values are more about ‘How’ you do it. So creating habits that support your values and purpose is about creating a culture where people do certain things regularly. One company I know has a culture of story-telling built into their way of doing things, so the way they start meetings, celebrate events and introduce new staff all have an element of story-telling built in. Creating a purpose driven culture means being intentional about what things you do for different occasions. People love traditions and habits especially when they are linked to a clear purpose that make sense to people. People like knowing where they stand, what’s acceptable and expected of them and cultural habits help people find structure meaning and purpose in their work.
The year ahead can be a meaningful one for you and your team if you commit your team on this journey of being a purpose-driven organization (no matter the size of your team). Great leaders believe that people will arise to the level of our expectations of them. If you expect and push for greatness in your people, you’ll be amazed at what people will achieve for and with you. So go ahead and make great things happen and Be Who You Be and let your purpose drive your culture.
Buhle Dlamini is a Global speaker on Future of Work, Organizational Culture and Diversity.
Contact the TomorrowToday Global team and ask for Buhle, to speak on Unleashing Your Greatness for your next conference or leadership development.