It’s often a mystery when we observe start-ups springing into mega-companies. We are often astounded by their seeming instant popularity, relevance, and longevity.
Interestingly, some of these companies were just a part of a bunch that was started on some millennial trends which one would think will fizzle out after experiencing some of the characteristic teething challenges.
Several great companies with brilliant potentials indeed die off almost as soon as they started, but don’t we usually like to blame it on several factors including what we think to be a harsh economic terrain? We may never be too far from the truth as some of these perceived factors often play a role, but one strong factor (perhaps the strongest factor) responsible for a failed organization despite its latent promises is the inability of these organizations to understand what they are and why they truly exist. They often fail to understand their exact purpose and reason for existence.
We know that the purpose of a thing must be known and ascertained if it must be referred to as ‘useful’ and relevant, and as long as an organization cannot get a grasp of its purpose, failure is inevitable. Smart companies engrain their purpose throughout the organization. Companies with clear purpose by far run more than just a business; they are the ones that become established brands.
Let me quickly add at this juncture that an organization is not defined by the site it currently occupies neither is it only defined by the name it projects. An organization regardless of its size is defined by the people behind the name, and by this, I refer to the employees.
Employees if directed right could become the greatest assets of any organization, but how can this be? Let me take your mind back to when a candidate for an interview (managerial and non-managerial roles) walked right through your doors. What exactly did you look for in these candidates and what were your expectations? Did you flip through candidates’ documents earnestly seeking highly rated certifications? Did you question their period of experience? Or perhaps you were majorly concerned with their network and academic prowess? Did you look for eloquence, poise, and eloquence? This route is fine; I quite agree that the eventual candidate must be an all-round balanced individual, but it worries me that we downplay purpose-based interviews; instead, we put all focus on competency-based interviews.
You see, the purpose of your staff members (even down to your support staff) is highly essential to the survival of the organizational purpose. This may sound ridiculous, but it is the plain truth. Think of your organization as a large fragmented or tiled picture of a man sporting an afro and leaning on his walking stick. Now, this entire picture is the purpose of your organization, but do bear in mind that this picture is in tiles and each tile is held in place by your employees. The slightest shift distorts the beautiful picture, in fact, the slightest shift, could redefine the picture and give it a whole new meaning. What if the Afro hair tile is shifted? It just might be passed off as some form of a cap, creating an imbalance. By this, the world might never see your projected ideas and your relevance in the marketplace.
Once an organization loses its relevance, it becomes useless and such companies fizzle out with time.
The purpose-based interview focuses on both the competence of an individual and his purpose, not in your organization, but life. This is because everyone has a purpose in life and so your ultimate goal would be to connect the right people who share a similar purpose with the overall purpose of your organization. By this deliberate action, employees become more than hirelings, they become a part of the entire vision with a deep passion to deliver on the goals and objectives laid before them in a thoughtful process and incredible ease. In this case, growth, relevance, success becomes the order of that organization.
Much more than initiating this idea at the inception of a hiring process, some people may find it difficult to clearly state their purpose, it doesn’t mean they are the wrong fit, especially having scaled the competency-based interview, it becomes imperative to ask leading questions where you could help them arrive at what it is. Mind you, you are not only engaging in this arduous process for the candidates’ benefit, but for your organization’s.
Yearly retreats are usually refreshing but the fact remains that constant emphasis of organizational purpose must be upheld given individual purposes. When there are deliverable and tasks created, it becomes important to match competence with tasks. Sadly, we seem to throw responsibilities at anyone, believing they will figure it out; at least they are under your payroll and would do accordingly. No! Purpose-driven organizations don’t reason like that. They take time to get involved in the lives of their employees in a bid to understand their purpose.
It’s never too late to help discover the purpose of your employees and for the first time put them on the path they should be. You may spot an opportunity on the outside that perfectly suits the purpose of a certain employee, if you can, put him or her on it and don’t be afraid to put your name on it. There isn’t any point force-fitting anyone into a capacity. Whilst it may seem callous to pull such people off a project and the organization (if necessary), you would be helping them start where they essentially belong and where their purpose will be felt.