Noble Purpose

In Lisa McLeod’s book, “Leading with Noble Purpose: How to Create a Tribe of True Believers,” she reflects on the difference in today’s workforce. Younger employees, the Gen Xers and Millennials, and Generation Z as I have heard them referred to, want to know that their work matters and that their work aligns with their values. According to FastCompany.com, “More than 50% of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values while 90% want to use their skills for good.” For leaders who are using profits as their measuring stick, this can be a huge turn off to the younger generations. Of course, financials need to be monitored, but what is the focus of your business and do employees understand how their work impacts the customers?

Finding a noble purpose is a bottom line strategy because as Lisa states, “Purpose and profits are linked.” When discussing the low levels of engagement currently in the workplace that being “51% are not engaged in their work and additional 17% are actively disengaged, Lisa states, “Employee engagement is not the root problem. It’s a symptom. The real problem is lack of workplace meaning.”

In order to bring meaning into the workplace there are a number of ways to help your employees accomplish this, by helping them to answer these questions.

  1. Who are you serving by your work?
  2. Who are your customers and how does your work help them accomplish their mission?
  3. Beyond your job, what are you helping to accomplish?

When interviewing Wes Cotter from Gilbane, the largest privately held family-owned construction and real estate development firms in the industry, he explained that although their organization builds hospitals and universities, the employees focus on their purpose which is to save lives and educate people. Imagine how that would change how you choose to work. Find ways to bring meaning to your employee’s work and creating a communication process to keep that purpose firmly in front of everyone is a good start. In addition, ensure that all of your communication is focused on your purpose to ensure that it becomes the guiding light for your organization.

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