Some organizations are great. Some organizations are not so great.
You can tell the difference between these types of organizations almost as soon as you walk into the office or sit down in an interview or meeting. Truly great organizations care about their people and create high-quality employee experiences. These are the companies that are focused not just on increasing their bottom lines, but on building communities for their employees and customers where everyone is engaged and moving forward.
One thing that sets great companies apart is that they have a reason for being. Every company has a mission statement, but a reason for being turns that on its head. This isn’t your typical corporate jargon but instead showcases the organization’s values and what it is willing to do for its employees and customers.
To be a powerful reason for being, it needs to contain four important parts:
Something unattainable. Goals that can be met are great, but there’s something about setting your eyes on the stars and aiming for something that you can’t actually grasp. A reason for being is an overarching goal that gives the company something to constantly work towards. An organization might not be able to ever actually bring a smile to the face of everyone in the world or end childhood hunger, but they can make it their mission to try. With an unattainable goal, there is always room for hope and progress.
No talk of money. Many organizations fall into the trap of turning the focus of their mission statement into being a leader or the best in their industry. That shows that the most important thing for that company is competition and financial gain. Not everyone can get behind money as the driving factor, especially if it comes at the sacrifice of employee experience and a strong sense of community. Leave money out of it and focus on other goals for your company.
Shows the company’s impact. Employees want to work for an organization that does good in the world and in the community. This is especially true with Millennials, who are often willing to give up higher pay if there is a strong mission or principles with the organization. Even for-profit companies can have a big impact on the community that their employees can get behind. Think about Airbnb’s goal to belong anywhere or Starbuck’s mission to nurture the human spirit, one cup, one neighborhood, and one community at a time. These reasons for being show that any type of company can have a positive impact in the world.
Rallies employees. The goal of a reason for being to make employees excited so that they want to come to work and put forth their best effort. Employees and customers are more likely to be excited about a motivational message that encourages them to build connections and do good. A reason for being is unifying and provides a sense of purpose for where the company and its employees are going. A good reason for being finds commonalities between people and encourages them to work together.
Organizations that have reasons for being are more likely to have engaged and fulfilled employees. These types of organizations can easily point to their reason for being and showcase what the company stands for and where it is going. But it’s not just the company that can have a reason for being—employees and teams can have them, too. Find what motivates you and your employees and create a reason for being to act as your goal and rally cry.
If your organization doesn’t have a reason for being, it’s time to sit down and make it happen.
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