One of the most inspiring people I have met while working with company purposes and business is Fred Kof- man, working as an advisor in many large companies at a global scale.
Some years ago, I was part of a session with him that left a huge im- print, and he has, without a doubt, some of the most intelligent ap- proaches to the connection between business and company purpose, often coined as ‘Conscious Business’ which suggests that business and purpose are each other’s prerequisites that raise the level throughout the whole company.
One of Fred Kofman’s strongest suggestions on how to begin struc-
tured purpose-driven work is for everyone to understand what their job entails. It may sound like a banal point; however, the experience with this is quite unambiguous in this area: Few- er than one would think understands what their job actually entails.
Too many people are confusing their role with their job which should never be the case in any company.
Your role is not your job, and you should not pay someone more base on their role
– it should be based on the execution of the purpose of the company.
Your role is not your job
Using roles is the way we have chosen to organise ourselves to achieve the real goal which can only be the company’s purpose. All leaders and employees in any company regardless of the industry should focus on one area when explaining what their job entails – and this is towards realising the company purpose and the impact related to this.
The definition of when we have ‘won’ as a company and when we have achieved the desired impact lies within the company’s purpose and everything else is simply methods, processes and activities that should lead us toward the purpose and if they do not, you should cut them out immediately.
So, ask yourself: Are you currently defining your job as the role you have or as the ultimate impact your company are here to do?
A company purpose is the ultimate way of achieving the rather overused term ‘alignment’ that nobody knows what means and everyone wants to have. In our world, it is all about focus through thoughts and actions, so that everyone understands what their job is, what they specifically can do to succeed, and when we have achieved our common goal.
This type of focus does not come for free; after all, what do you do when your personal or local goals conflict with the company’s goals?
First of all, this kind of hierarchy of objectives should be reconfigured which we are well aware will not hap- pen the coming Monday. In the mean- time, it is about raising awareness of what it means for a company when everyone shares the same job.
There is no way around the fact that at times, we should consciously sacrifice a local interest for the com- pany’s benefit. If we do not, the path to success becomes highly difficult and for some, impossible.
Regardless of the company and industry you are in: Everyone in your company has the same job. Your roles are different – but your job is the same.
Help everyone understand what their role is
The starting point of this perspective is making sure that we all have a com- mon understanding of what the col- lective job is, and here you have a few examples of what other companies have done to begin this process:
- Onboarding all new employees in this perspective. If you anchor your onboarding process in help- ing everyone understanding what their real job is, you are well on the way. Make sure that your entire onboarding process is anchored in this perspective, making sure that the desired impact of your com- pany is the primary lens everyone is seeing through rather than their local role. Is it always purpose and impact first – and then strategy and roles.
- Implement the ‘What’s your job?’ perspective in your leadership training. All leaders in your com- pany have a significant impact on the culture and the way things are done, so making sure they understand and look through the purpose and impact lens in everything they do is vital to achieve the benefits.
- Define Key Purpose Indicators. If we don’t know what good looks and when we are having the desired impact as a company, it will be unfair to expect anyone in the company to do it. Most companies have performance indicators but what about the more relevant and modern KPI (Key Purpose Indicators)?
In conclusion, companies who are serious about working towards accomplishing their goals should assist everyone in understanding what their real job is. To succeed with this, the company’s purpose and chosen meth- ods to realise this purpose should be clear to everyone. This subsequently offers the company several benefits, including focused decision making, speed, engagement, results of strategic initiatives and significantly greater clarity and consistently internally as well as externally – and the what might that be worth for your business?