As your company develops its higher purpose ask yourself the following question: if we were to go out of business tomorrow, and nobody was hurt, why would it matter? The employees at King Arthur Flour remind themselves that every day, people across the country count on their flour to make their baking the best it can be. Google‘s purpose is “to organize the world.” Amazon‘s purpose is to “build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Washington DC’s Sibley Memorial Hospital‘s purpose is to “promote wellness, to relieve suffering, and to restore health as swiftly, safely, and humanely as it can be done.”
Is there some compelling reason your company exists? Are there clients who rely on your products and services to keep them safe, profitable or even alive? Would lives be altered or mountains left unclimbed if your company didn’t exist?
Remember the story of the two stone masons. For days on end, both were toiling at the physically demanding task of stacking one stone upon another. When the first mason was asked what he was doing, he responded that he was stacking stones and securing them with mortar. But when the other was asked the same question, his response was that he was building a cathedral. Who do you think was more personally fulfilled? Which mason would be willing to work late, take on more responsibilities, and groom the next generation of stone masons?