Change starts where you’re at:

  1. What business are you in?
  2. Who are the customers you want?
  3. How are you getting those customers?
  4. Who are the customers you are getting?

Defining Purpose‘ why am I here? Why are you here? Why are we here? … and looking at what we think and what we got is a necessary and pragmatic step.

Consulting & coaching two companies with the same objectives. Over two years:
  1. Create a Value Proposition with data to support the business value to customers and employees. The value proposition will define and attract new customers, vendors, donors, suppliers, and community collaboration.
  2. Enhance organizational infrastructure to be better prepared to change and flourish in the VUCA (Volatile; Uncertain; Complex; Ambiguous) world of the Affordable Care Act, Insurance Providers, Medicare, Medicaid, Managed Care, etc.

What’s the purpose?

Purpose tells you and your current/potential customers why you exist, the business you are in, and the business you are not in…

The challenge of defining purpose is that what you state as your purpose and your purpose in practice may be two very different things.

“…take a hospital. It proclaims that it’s there to take care of patients; that’s nonsense. It’s there to provide the doctor with a place to practice medicine; we’re there to make their practice possible.” Russel Ackoff

Questions to Define + Determine purpose:
  1. Who are we as a company?
  2. Why are we here?
  3. Who are our employees / our stakeholders, / our community partners?
  4. Why are these employees working here right now?
  5. Who are our customers?
  6. Why do our current customers come to us?
  7. Who were our customers?
  8. Why did our past customers stop coming to us?
  9. Who will be our customers?
  10. Why will they come to us for services/products?
  11. What business are we in?
  12. What evidence do we have to prove that we are indeed in that business?
  13. What business are we not in?
  14. What evidence do we have to prove that we are not in that business?
  15. How are we successful currently? What evidence do we have to show that we are successful at what we claim to be successful?
  16. How will we be successful in the long term 1 to 2 years? 2 to 5 years? 5 to 10 years? How will we know that we are doing these things and not something else?
  17. How were we successful in the past? What evidence do we have to show that we were successful in the past?
  18. What values and principles should be consistent across all our relationships internally amongst co-workers? Externally?
  19. What evidence do we see that we are practicing doing these principles?

I find that few companies and work teams pay attention to and can answer these questions. Fewer can answer them consistently amongst 3 to 5 people.

The need to focus on purpose during periods of change and tumult will connect and focus on the shared & individual processes shaping the required results. With purpose, a system works. The system-drives-behaviors thrive in VUCA (Volatile; Uncertain; Complex; Ambiguous) environments with a clear and consistent purpose.