The single most important key to success in your business, with your team, with your family and in your life is truly hidden from each of us, right in plain sight! Are you thinking, really, that can’t be possible? Let me make my case. . .
Years ago I invested in a trip to Seattle to meet with a career counselor who had been referred to me by a friend. I was struggling with the question of “what do I to be when I grow up?” I had a great job, and things were going well, but I was getting antsy for a plan, an idea, a strategy for what was next. This trip was a big expense for me at that time as a young executive with a growing family, and I had invested a lot in the idea that this person would be able to tell me what a good career path would be. We sat down, and the first question he asked me was, “What do you really want to do?”
Of course, I was offended, since I had flown all this way to meet him and ask him that very same question, and I told him so! He replied with the key: “No one else knows what you want, the answer is yours, it is persona, and the place to look for the answer is in you.” That’s the thing about a mission or a purpose, which really is the key to success, it is unique, and personal, and resonates when it is clearly communicated. It is the thing which will inspire others to follow you, to support you, to recommend you, but it is not always easy to see.
What hides our own personal mission from us? A variety of things. . . Things like the fear of being ridiculed, or the fear of failure (if I claim it and don’t succeed in achieving my dream will that be worse than not naming the mission at all? ). Stories about limitations and what is acceptable can hide the truth from us, being distracted by the endless demands on our time and attention can help us forget what is really important. The need for security, and to toe the line, and to fulfill our parent’s expectations. The list is almost endless, but the bottom line is that the key to a truly rewarding life and success in all the areas of our lives is founded in a true understanding of who we are and who we are here to serve.
In “Built to Last”, authors Jim Collins and Jerry Porras make a convincing case for the long-term success of visionary companies dedicated to purpose in front of profit. The case studies selected for their research grew in value 15 times greater than their comparison companies over 65 years. Visionary companies engage their employees, and today, study after study shows that profitability, customer satisfaction and employee performance are directly tied to employee engagement metrics. For the small business owner, this piece is key.
Clarify your purpose, your mission, your “why” for being in business. Develop clear and consistent messaging to communicate your mission to your employees and your clients. This is the first step to fanatically loyal team members and customers, and it is the key to your long-term success.