We all long for a sense of purpose – a deeper objective, that makes whatever we do more meaningful. Having clarity on the deeper motives can help you strategically navigate your journey. The same thing applies to businesses, which is why having a why statement is so vital.
All business leaders know what they do.
Most of them even understand how they do it.
However, only a handful would be able to describe exactly why they do what it is they do.
Internal satisfaction moves way beyond wired transfers and paychecks. The sweet nectar lies in working for a cause or a higher purpose that you strongly believe in.
That’s where the why statement kicks in.
In this post, we’ll explain what makes it so important, as well as provide actionable tips on discovering your why.
Let’s jump right in.
Understanding the Why Statement
We started Work for Impact with the purpose of enabling people to do meaningful work and make a positive impact.
Everything we do is a reflection of that purpose.
It’s what makes us get out of our beds in the morning – a meaningful objective, one that is bigger than any of us, one that we all share.
In other words, that’s our why.
Therefore, the why statement (also known as a purpose statement), is a concise explanation of why an organization does whatever it does. It’s the declaration of a higher purpose that the business believes in.
Simon Sinek was one of the first to shed light on how our internal motives (purpose) drive our actions and why business leaders should use those motives to inspire others.
He came up with the concept of the “Golden Circle” which consists of three layers. It explains why, how, and what a business can do to achieve its goals.
Here’s a quick description:
- Why – is the core of the circle. It guides whatever value proposition the business offers and all of the strategic steps it takes to make it possible.
- How – involves all of the different strategies that a business can take to fulfill its purpose.
- What – encapsulates the other two layers, and details all of the actual steps that a business needs to take to fuel its how and achieve its why.
This brings us to:
The Clear Distinction Between Your Purpose and Your Mission
More often than not, people confuse their purpose with their mission statement.
However, there’s a clear distinction. While your purpose declares the why behind your existence, your mission states the exact steps that you’re going to take to work towards your ultimate objective.
For example, a non-profit educator’s why statement could be:
“To make academic knowledge accessible to the masses so that everyone gets the chance to educate themselves.”
In light of the above, their mission statement could be:
“Delivering an online platform where low-income individuals can attend online classes for free.”
Why the Why Statement Matters
If businesses can survive without purpose statements, what’s the point in having one?
In one of his TedTalks, Sinek explains how having a clear, documented purpose helped companies, such as Apple, achieve phenomenal success over the years.
But, how exactly?
Here are the different facets that a why statement can help with:
1. Helps Attract and Retain People Who Share Your Purpose
We’re naturally attracted to people who share similar goals and believe in the same ideas.
The same principle applies to a job-seeker or a freelancer looking for new opportunities. In fact, about 75% of job-seekers look at an employer’s brand before applying for any open position.
If a business doesn’t have a higher purpose, it will have a tough time attracting new, quality profiles and/or freelancers.
Furthermore, it will also struggle with retaining its existing talent, as according to a report, when companies have a higher purpose that goes beyond just profits, employees are 27% more likely to stay.
2. Makes Precision-Targeting Possible
The benefits of having a defined purpose aren’t limited to creating and managing a team of like-minded individuals.
It can also directly impact an organization’s profit by earning the approval of consumers.
According to a survey led by Accenture, nearly 63% of consumers prefer to purchase the goods and services of purpose-driven companies that share the same values and beliefs.
In his book, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” Sinek talks about how this why hits the emotional center of a consumer’s brain, which facilitates in decision-making.
Additionally, with a purpose marketers can create more precise buyer-personas and craft more impactful content centered on that idea.
3. Serves as an Additional Foundation for Other Strategic Decisions
Apart from attracting competent profiles and skyrocketing profits with highly targeted marketing, companies use their purpose statements to drive other business-critical decisions, as well.
In their book, “Corporate Culture and Performance,” professors James Heskett and John Kotter demonstrated how purpose-driven companies tend to perform better than others in terms of stock price over a 10-year period.
Ultimately, the why statement impacts everything – from the company culture and the core values that serve as the foundations, to how the organization treats its suppliers and views its strategic partnerships.
All of the above, in one way or another, play vital roles in deciding the company’s success.
Discovering Your Why – How to Find Your Purpose
With all that being said, how does one go about creating a purpose statement?
It all begins with discovering your why.
Whether you’re a freelancer, a business leader, or an employee, begin by asking these questions:
- What am I passionate about?
- Are there any causes that are associated with my passion?
- What role can I play to contribute towards that cause?
- Is it something that other people care about?
By answering the questions above, you’ll be able to craft a why statement for yourself, attract relevant candidates to accompany you on your journey (if you’re an employer), or seek out companies that share your vision (if you’re a freelancer or job-seeker).
That’s exactly what we hope to achieve with Work for Impact: We help freelancers connect with purpose-driven companies.
Sign up today and start working on meaningful projects that leave a lasting impact.