Let’s talk corporate purpose, shall we. There were days when work was not interesting even to me, which was quite baffling being the lead consultant of my consulting firm. It felt ridiculous that I would start a business I was not passionate about. I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing, yet I was stuck with it, I had to.

Relax, let me explain. You see, there is something we call fulfillment in everything you do, but that fulfillment comes from meeting a certain purpose, and that purpose comes from a process of self-discovery. That was where all my problems lay, and it is where I want to convince you your problems, or those of your teams could be stemming from. As a matter of fact, this was largely the cause of my inspiration to write the book A Becomer’s Philosophy, a guide to living a fulfilled life.

But first, what is organizational purpose?

Corporate purpose is an overarching summary of why you exist to do what you do. Stripped of every other information, corporate purpose should communicate what inspired you to start and towards what destination. According to Forbes, corporate purpose creates a sense of belonging, guides decisions, and inspires action. It helps corporate leaders navigate a world of accelerating change. This applies to the company and the individuals who make the company too.

The role of organizational purpose in business strategy

Yesterday I had a very interesting 3-hour conversation with my colleagues around building purpose within organizations. Did you know that the typical employee will always try to deliver less than you pay them? It is a subconscious cue that if you pay me $1000, I will always try to deliver as much as $999, and that is where most of our clients will always wonder how to fix the employee productivity problem.

In his book, and in the 3-hour conversation, my colleague Maina Ndiritu, the author of Missing Links to Self-Discovery and Actualization talked about every effect (what clients call problems) having a cause (which is hidden from the eyes of the client in most cases), and each cause having a source (which is what actually needs to be changed for long-term/ sustainable solutions to be achieved)

The key to productivity is not always more salaries, there is another better key

Now, here is an interesting twist, did you know that when your company has a clear purpose that aligns to the purpose of your employee you do not have to compel them to deliver more than you pay them for? The biggest human capital problem we’ve picked so far from our consulting portfolio at Rensyl Integral is that most workplaces are either UNAWARE or REFUSE to build a corporate purpose, but demand unreasonably too much from employees.

Whilst this is happening, the employees spend their days wondering what they got themselves into, but cannot quit because they have bills to pay at the end of every month. Employees simply do not love what they do, and may never love it. When they come to work in the morning, they are thinking and wishing for their end of shift. Surely, what magic will make such an employee love what they will do all day, and what guarantee is there that they will treat your customer nicely?

The misconception and the solution

Faced with such situations, many managers’ first instinct is to cough out more salaries, but this is a trap, because, until when will you keep adding salaries? The biggest conundrum here is that even after salary addition, the employees still deliver less than their employer’s new level. This cycle continues on and on, until;

  1. The employer discovers their corporate purpose
  2. The employer communicates their corporate purpose to employees
  3. Employees discover their personal purpose and see how the organization makes it possible to achieve individual purpose
  4. Both the employer and employee become partners in achieving a purpose for mutual benefit

The moment employers realize that the sooner they kill the slave-owner relationship with employees and adopt a purpose-oriented partnership model, that is the moment we shall start building futuristic workplaces full of happy employees, happy customers, social impact and profits.

Tim Mwangi

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