What will we see in this post
Have you ever watched the Charlie Chaplin movie Modern Times?
Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably seen that scene where the factory worker, played by Chaplin, is trapped in a repetitive and alienated routine on a factory production line.
It’s a classic, but what does it have to do with a sense of purpose?
In this article, we’re going to explain why performing tasks in a robotic manner should be replaced by an attitude of belonging, engagement and forward thinking.
Purpose-driven businesses have a better chance of success! Keep reading!
What is a sense of purpose?
In the scene in Modern Times, we have a completely alienated individual at work — it’s hard to tell him apart from a machine.
Chaplin’s criticism was directed at capitalism after the First Industrial Revolution, which forced workers into conditions of physical and mental exhaustion in pursuit of profits.
Nowadays, we have labor laws to make sure that professional workplaces are healthier and hopefully this sad reality inside factories is fading.
However, the idea that human beings practically become robots because of their work isn’t far from the truth.
How often do you perform your tasks in a completely mechanical manner?
Professional alienation leads to a feeling that we are merely another number and we aren’t leaving our mark on the world. This is where the sense of purpose comes in!
Does your business have a clear idea of the importance of each role and where you ultimately want to become? Or are you performing your activities merely because someone told you it had to be done and your boss is demanding results?
A sense of purpose refers to the deeper goals of professional activity: What legacy do you intend to leave behind? What is the impact of your activities on the world? How do your products or services change people’s lives?
Why is a sense of purpose so vital business?
The idea behind a sense of purpose is marvelous, isn’t it? But is it really important in order to have a healthy business? Let’s find out!
It becomes easier to propose and achieve goals
When a business (whether it’s a large company, a mom-and-pop shop or an individual endeavor), knows what it wants, it becomes easier to propose goals.
For example, if you’re creating an online course because you want people to learn more about a subject, your take the initiative to make it great.
More than the number of sales or the number of hits, you will propose goals for yourself that will contribute to the transmission of knowledge, such as:
- Studying public speaking to improve explanations about the content;
- Creating interactive content so that learning is more effective;
- Investing in a recording studio so that your videos have better quality;
- Preparing your classes carefully with scripts, activities, etc.
And best of all, achieving these goals won’t be a burden, but a pleasure! After all, they truly connect to a deep sense of purpose regarding your professional performance.
The increase in productivity is significant when you feel that your work makes a difference.
Businesses that have a sense of purpose usually have a collective engagement effect.
Those involved in professional activities — employees, partners and even consumers —become team players and want to help achieve the goals together.
This is because deep and consistent purpose creates a sense of belonging, everyone feels that they are part of something bigger, a common goal that unites and integrates.
For example, there’s a story about a NASA janitor that is often told in leadership courses.
When the janitor was asked by then President John F. Kennedy about what he did at NASA, he replied, “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
In other words, even those activities that aren’t directly related to the business’s results become a key part for the success of the goals. This helps build a success story, with aligned processes that move together towards the same cause.
How to develop a sense of purpose
We’ve taken a look at how a sense of purpose brings advantages to your business.
Working for a cause rather than a need is normally more enjoyable and satisfying. And of course, this ends up being reflected in the results.
Thus, the goals that drive professional performance are directly linked to the business’s progress. This helps deter the business from always looking at the numbers and instead focus on those who are affected, the effects caused and the change made in the world.
But how do you develop this trait? Self-reflection is pretty philosophical, but the good news is that there are practical ways of achieving a sense of purpose. Check out a few tips!
1. Understand the importance of your actions
How can your unite your employees, partners and target audience around your purpose, if you don’t even know what it is?
The first step is to really understand the importance of your actions.
Answer questions such as:
- What is the legacy I want to leave behind?
- How does my product or service make a difference in the world?
- How are people’s lives touched, in some way, by what I do?
- What are the positive impacts my actions bring about?
- How does each activity performed contribute to these goals?
Your answers to these questions will become essential tools in discovering the true value of your product or service.
2. Be clear about your business’s mission, vision and values
After answering the questions above, a good practice is to prepare your business’s mission, vision and values statement.
If you have the slightest notion about management, you know that these three concepts are always present in the foundation of a company:
- Mission: The focus of the performance, i.e., the main practical goal with your products or services;
- Vision: The expected impacts in the long run, the pursued legacy;
- Values: The principles that define your business, ideas that drive all strategies, decision making and conduct in day-to-day activities.
But we want to go beyond. While you are writing your statements, don’t get caught up in empty words written merely to fill out the “About us” section on your corporate website.
The idea is to think carefully about the meaning of each of the terms for your business and develop them with sincerity. During your professional activities, they need to guide all of your initiatives.
3. Keep teams and the audience aligned with the purpose
With this foundation ready, now comes the hard part: Align everyone around the motivation and causes that the business has as priorities. Without this aspect in team development, the purpose may get lost or be just on paper.
A good practice is to build teams that are open to the defined goals. When it comes to hiring employees or establishing partnerships, for example, keep identification in mind: Relate to those who agree with your purpose.
In addition, it’s worth building a strong relationship with your audience so that your consumers can embrace the same causes.
Have you ever heard of the empathy map? This tool helps increase the brand’s awareness of the audience’s needs, and, in turn, your audience’s awareness of your brand. This makes it easier to get your consumers on the same page.
Are you leaving your mark on the world?
You’ve heard the famous quote, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”, right?
Working in a field you really love and believe in is synonymous with having better results and achieving professional satisfaction.
Therefore, it’s time to think. What is the mark you want to leave on the world?
Based on this reflection and following our tips, you will be able to develop a sense of purpose and benefit your business!
Now, if you don’t even know where to start, here’s an idea: How about doing a little self-assessment first?
With the personal canvas, you can systematize your personal development priorities and find the true purpose that drives you professionally. Read our article and take advantage of this tool!