How to Find the Heart of Business
If you don’t know why you are here,
how will you know what to do?
Life without purpose has no dignity, no direction, and no enduring passion. What’s true for you is true for business.
Purpose and business:
David Lapin explains, “The purpose of economic activity is to make a valuable contribution to the well-being of others.” (Lead by Greatness)
- What businesses do? Engage in economic activity.
- Why businesses exist – purpose? Make valuable contributions to the well-being of others.
Purpose is the heart of your business. Every great organization understands and owns its “valuable contribution to the well-being of others” – purpose.
Power of Purpose:
- Purpose drives business.
- Purpose directs business.
- Purpose evaluates business.
- Purpose enhances business.
Your difference explains your unique potential.
What’s good for business is better for you. Life without purpose is living death. Lapin suggests finding your purpose by, “analyzing [your] differences.”
Find how you fit in by
exploring what makes you stand out.
After exploring your difference, Lapin suggest three steps to discovering your purpose.
- List your capabilities. “Assets, skills, and experiences all come together to give you that unique set of capabilities.” Consider: physical abilities, upbringing, education, personality, world view, and more. (pg. 78)
- Identify primary beneficiaries. Who are the, “single set of people or entities that could derive the most value capabilities.”
- Uncover your passion. “…What activities in your work or personal life energize you?” Go one step more, “…What about them energizes and uplifts you…?”
Leadership and purpose:
Great leaders maximize differences. You may be tempted to look down on – minimize – those who are different from you. Small leaders judge everyone by themselves.
Always maximize uniqueness.
If you can’t, you’re on the wrong team.
How has purpose made a difference for you or others?
How did you clarify your purpose? Your business’ purpose?
This post is based on “Lead by Greatness” (ch. 6) and my conversation with it’s author, David Lapin.
I am a strong believer in exercises such as this for both myself and those I lead.
I love having “purpose” explorations with people. It’s awesome when the light comes on.
This past year, I cleaned up my personal vision/mission statements which has really helped me make good decisions on where I work, and what i work toward within my team. Also, it shows me how I line up or don’t line up with the organization I’m working with…
I hope everyone reads your comment so they can see the personal value and power of clarity in this area. 🙂
It’s a funny old world really when I think about it, for my purpose always appeared to be supporting others to uncover theirs !
I never purposely set out to do this – I believe we all share a similar philosophy in life which isn’t separated by our personal and work lives so doing what I do and being who I am just seems like the most natural thing in the world …… work for me is really play …. it makes my day in many diverse ways …….
Thank you Imelda.
Isn’t it great that our purpose finds us? Perhaps we need to learn how to listen, pursue opportunities, and take risks… finding purpose isn’t simply being passive. But if we are active and listening our purpose rises up.
very right, Life with out purpose has no meaning. The whole philosophy of Hindu religion is based on who I am ? and why I am here? The soul search takes you to ultimate eternity.
Here we are talking of life and business. So this is heart of any business. very well said.
Thank you H.
David Lapin’s focus is bringing life and business together… giving it soul.
Before becoming a business and leadership coach, I worked as a sales executive in the computer industry for over 20 years. Good career.
Largest sale was $1.5M (1988 dollars) and I enjoyed it for five minutes.
Now, I have a coaching convo with a leader on a Tuesday morning at 7a and I’m on a high for the whole week.
Thank God I found my purpose in life. To reveal the dormant potential in my clients.
Thank you Steve.
As Campbell said, “follow your bliss”…
Believing in “dormant potential” sets the world on fire.
I agree that heart of business is purpose. Besides knowledge, skill and attitudes, there two things that make heart to pump: Trust and relationship. Any business without trust and relationship with stakeholders is without heart. Pumping of heart makes purpose live and organizations sustainable. So, leaders need to create, restore and build trust based on nurturing relationship.
Purpose should include people. It should also include environment and social needs. success in business are outcomes of these components. So,profitability and performance is the outcome of people connectivity with the purpose. Therefore, it is the leadership challenge to connect people with organization purpose.
Relationship that treat people as human create trust in the business.It takes longer to build trust and relationship but a moment to breach it with hidden and wrong intention.
Good comments, Ajay!
Thank you Ajay.
“Purpose should include people.” The interesting thing about purpose is it’s about others not us. Sure, it begins with us..with self-reflection…with identifying who we are… However, purpose apart from adding value to others isn’t purpose at all.
I’m thankful that you enjoy talking about trust. You help us keep on track.
my business is writing, as is my passion
my purpose is to get people to think or laugh or just enjoy a minute of something new
Thank you “On”.
Clarity makes you dangerous .. 🙂
this come at much needed time for me. Thank you for wonderful post. Cheers.
Thank you Saura.
It’s a pleasure to be of service.
Hi Dan the name is Saurabh. I just use 8 instead of B.
Another great one Dan. So important to do what you believe. Everyday I try to “Inspire & Influence Positive Change” in people and my goal is to “Improve Morale in the Workplace” every chance I get. Your posts help me to continue to believe it is possible.
I needed to read this today. Thanks.
Thank you Al.
YOu include the word, “believe.” It’s surprising how belief plays a central roll in business and leadership.
Success to you as you lift others.
In our medical practice we all sat down and talked about our purpose, getting to the core purpose of why we where there and what did we want to accomplish at the end of the day. There were variations of what we each do but to accomplish it but ultimately it all was for the same purpose of delivering great patient care.
Thank you Tina.
YOu help us see that diverse people can still find commonality and succeed together. Shared purpose binds people together.
Dan, I see a powerful theme in your latest writing …serving …purpose. 🙂 Great challenges. Parker Palmer wrote a book Let Your Life Speak. In addition to being a good read for those searching, I believe it is a great title. Regardless of how “loud” you speak, each of us has a unique set of gifts to serve others with. We’ve explored a lot about why people don’t step out (serving). I believe purpose is another area that we can be afraid to explore…like, “we might find out what it is and have to do it!” Wouldn’t that be ashame…finding purpose, passion, fulfillment, gratitude, joy, and new energy in our life.
Some of the most fun I have as a business coach, leader and parent has been helping others explore their purpose.
Two big smilers this morning…the paradox of ‘fit in by standing out’ and was reminded of a short lived HR catch phrase of ‘repurposing’ staff, which sounds oddly animatronic when talking about people.
Would add that the tense of our choice of verbs is important and can drive us or stagnate us. How did I clarify my purpose? Once we have clarified our purpose, are we all done?
I do know my past perceptions and processes of my purpose–gotta love alliteration. However, today, how I go about my purpose can/should improve over the past or else I likely am stagnating.
Perhaps it is a case of CPI– continuous purpose improvement… 😉
A real good post and lot of good learnings once thought deeply. The clarity of purpose in business, service or personal life can help us to focus our efforts in the right direction to achieve the pre-set goal with desired success. Creating individual uniquness with differentitation is to maximize the potential and bring the best out of you. It’s the ambition that makes a big difference!
Ambitious people are usually guided by the intuition and the defined process to move forward with immense courage and confidence. Sucessful leaders encourage their followers to create good uniquness amongst themselves to shoulder independent responsibilities to achieve a common larger goal.
From a spiritual angle, this is the crux of living a meaningful life for the betterment of society as a whole.
Dear Dr. Asher,
I appreciate your point that ambitious people are usually guided by the intuition. It is so true. I always believe that intuition plays greater role in maximizing the impact. Rationality on the other side has its own contribution. Organizations generally expect leaders to follow logic and rationality in decision making process. But leaders put more emphasis on their gut feeling and intuition. They do what think is right taking other factors into account. We should believe that there are other factors that are beyond our control and imaginations in our decision making process.
I also agree that intuition fosters courage and confidence. Rationality fosters justification and logic. However balanced mix of both can render extraordinary outcomes.
These lesson are very close to the principles of branding. Another way to define the purpose that drives your business, company or organisation, is to sit down with everyone that is involved in the management of the structure and write a mission statement together. That mission statement represents the purpose of the collective that becomes the manager in itself for every action the staff or officers make. This is why most successful companies have this integral step written into their tagline.
a great one that comes to mind is “Make Poverty History” a very active and call-to-arms type of tagline by Oxfam
The beauty of what you are saying is its simplicity, but it is so often ignored. Failure to determine the purpose is guaranteed to cause drift and shifting goalposts – so detrimental!
Reblogged this on Jots & Thoughts and commented:
“The purpose of economic activity is to make a valuable contribution to the well-being of thers.” Quote alone makes me want to read the book!
Reblogged this on For your mind & future only and commented:
If you don’t know why you are here,
how will you know what to do?
Purpose is that one thing that explains why we are here and what we are to be about. Without it, everything stays static and directionless. Great steps to discovering one’s purpose, Dan. Keep being a Leadership Freak!
Thank you Kent