With Purpose, Comes Power

Why is it so challenging for manufacturing companies to communicate their purpose for doing business? Some don’t have a formal purpose. Others do, but employees may not know it or be able to articulate it. What’s worse, employees may be able to articulate the company’s purpose, but are not aligned with or engaged in delivering it! Manufacturing companies are faced with many challenges and competing priorities, but having a clear purpose and communicating it regularly and consistently can help your team tackle those challenges head-on.

Manufacturing businesses tend to focus first and foremost on the products they manufacture and the processes to do so with excellence. Making sure product quality is intact, operations and facilities are running smoothly, and keeping pace with the competition rank high on the list of priorities. Additionally, focusing on new product innovation and how to bring the next generation of products to the industry tends to be a high priority, as it should be.

And of course, having the right employees on board is key to running a high performance organization. It’s critical to retain influential leaders, industry experts, experienced sales staff, and top notch customer service representatives among others.

However, taking a step back from the busy day-to-day cycle and focusing on your company’s overarching purpose is time and investment well spent. And take it from the experts that it’s imperative you have a purpose. According to Huffington Post,

“In the past, profit and shareholder value dominated the corporate agenda. Now, savvy organizations are putting “people and planet” alongside profit at the very core of how they do business. Havas Media found that “meaningful brands,” brands that improve the wellbeing of people’s lives in a tangible, significant and fulfilling way, have enjoyed better financial returns than top hedge funds.”

— Huffington Post

Having a sense of purpose can make good companies great, and average employees exceptional. It’s the guiding star for which you do business, and when your employees rally around an engaging purpose you’re bound to see a better work ethic, a stronger emotional connection to the company, greater job satisfaction, and increased loyalty. Keeping talented staff engaged, satisfied, and on the payroll is important in a time where employee recruitment and retention is among one of the top pain points for the manufacturing industry.

So, how do you go about communicating your purpose if you already have one that you feel good about, or how do you develop a purpose if you are lacking one? Imaginasium has a proven process to help your company define your vision or purpose and your positioning in the marketplace through our customer experience ecosystem. We’ve helped mid-sized manufacturers embark on this process and guide them through it every step of the way. And we’ve found when employees can be part of the journey in defining your purpose, their commitment to your organization strengthens.

To illustrate this concept, here are some companies with a meaningful shared purpose that helps engage and motivate employees. Even if your industry isn’t glamorous (most aren’t), you can still develop a purpose that employees will get excited about.

IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

JetBlue: ” … to inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.”

Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

As you read these statements, you can feel the emotional and engaging triggers. It’s not about the profits or the process, but about a greater cause and how you can impact lives in a positive way. Those are the types of visions that get employees excited to get out of bed and come into work everyday. Because they know they are part of something bigger. That they are going to make an impact in someone’s life because of their role. With meaningful purpose, comes power.

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About the author:

Laura Myers

Laura Myers is Imaginasium's director of client strategy. She has extensive experience in strategic planning and building brands within multiple industries, including CPG, B2B, healthcare, and professional services. She heads up the client services department, leads cross-functional business teams, and serves as strategic lead on client accounts. Follow her on Twitter at @lauramyerz.