growth-1140534_640ARE YOU DOING SOMETHING AMAZING in your business?

I’m seeing a powerful trend in 2015 and 2016 of companies which are out to change the world.  Or at least their corner of the world.

It’s almost as if people are waking up to the fact that there’s more to life than money.  Not that money’s bad, but that it doesn’t actually change the world for the better until you apply it to making something better.

More and more businesses are on a mission to address important issues.

Today I want to talk about what this can do for your employees and partners.  After all, people want to feel that they’ve accomplished something in their lives, that they’re valued for making a difference.

The most powerful companies I’ve seen find great ways to articulate their mission and build it into everything they are.  Who they hire.  How they manage.  Which partnerships they create.

And how they report progress.

That’s especially important, because what you measure drives the direction of an organization.  People focus on what they perceive they’ll be rewarded for – whether or not it’s in their job description.

It’s a matter of feedback.  When was the last time you actually looked at your job description?  Would you even know where to find it?  On the other hand, discussions about results should be happening weekly or monthly, depending on context.  This information is going to affect your behavior a whole lot more, and you’ll think about it more deeply.

The real mission and culture of a company is what’s talked about every day.

As the leader, you’re not involved in every discussion, nor would you want to be.  But your people may be out there guessing that business is going poorly because you looked grumpy this morning.  Never mind it was because you stubbed your toe walking in the door!

Perhaps you’re not talking about customer issues because you don’t want to trouble your folks and it’s kind of embarrassing.  That tells your employees that customers aren’t a focus, or that issues are best swept under the rug.

On the other hand, maybe you’re continuing to tell stories about some of the great successes you’ve had in achieving your mission.  You’ve got an exciting project going on with that key partner.  You got recognized by the press.  Or an employee took special initiative which is really going to make a difference.

It’s not all good news, of course.  You’re focusing on that one part of the mission which just doesn’t seem to be happening.  A competitor made a move which seems to be blocking forward progress.  You stumbled on that last customer engagement.

If you’re talking about these things with your folks, that says they’re important.  When you ask them for help on a strategic issue and you let them know how critical it is, they’ll feel involved and valued.  When you get up in front of everyone and report that you made 3% progress this month but were hoping for 5%, they’ll see that it’s a priority.

And they’ll focus more energy in that direction.

For the mission of your business, your role as leader is to:

  • Talk about it with people on a daily basis, with managers, with employees, and with partners.
  • Build partnerships specifically around how they’ll help you achieve your mission.
  • Capture and repeat stories which inspire the behaviors you’d like to see.
  • Show people how you’re measuring progress on that mission.
  • Help each individual to see their role in making the mission happen.

This is how you’re going to get the power of everyone pulling in the same direction!

This article was first published in InnovatioNews.