“Together with my Executive Team, I recently defined a new corporate purpose for our organisation. I now need to make this come alive and have our employees live it on a daily basis.”
– CEO, Cosmetics Industry
Corporate Purpose leads to Corporate Performance
Studies confirm that the most successful organisations are guided by a clear sense of purpose. It is also one of the key drivers for personal motivation. Creating a strong corporate purpose is of course only the first step; embedding it in how employees do their job is where the ‘rubber meets the road’.
We suggest to start by identifying success stories in your own organisation that support your new corporate purpose. Then find ways to replicate these across the rest of the organisation. This is the basic principle of one of the strength-based approaches we use called Appreciative Inquiry (AI).
What you pay attention to, grows
The AI model is based on the assumption that the questions we ask will tend to focus our attention in a particular direction. Instead of applying the traditional deficiency model (“What needs to be fixed or changed in order for us to achieve our new corporate purpose?”), AI asks “What is working well right now that supports our new corporate purpose and how can we replicate that in other parts of our organisation?”
When we focus on the positive, this does not mean that we neglect the negative. But the difference is that when negatives surface during an AI discussion, people make the shift from a ‘problem-solving’ mindset towards a ‘solution-creating’ mindset, which makes negatives much easier to tackle in a constructive way.
Tap into the positive energy that exists in your people
AI involves the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate and heighten positive potential. It is results-oriented and practical, while at the same time leveraging the inner energy of people and unlocking potential. It amplifies people’s self determination and strength, all with a clear focus on the future.
Facilitate sustainable change
AI inquires into the best of the past and builds on it to create the future. The result is a vision that is compelling, and therefore does not require the use of incentives, coercion or persuasion for planned change to occur. It ignites the imagination, deepens engagement, and accelerates the adoption of new behaviours. The strength-based approach is more natural to work with and more sustainable in the long run. The more we repeat working with our strengths, the better we can get.
Role model the change
Communicate your corporate purpose using an AI approach, and your people will become engaged and committed to implementing it. Start with your Executive Team, who will need to role model the mindset and behaviours that support your corporate purpose, and then cascade down to your employees. You will create a culture that unites employees, instills shared values and provides motivation and inspiration.