Episode 35 – The Growth Whisperers
The Growth Whisperers is a weekly podcast hosted by Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence two advisors to mid-market businesses, one Australian, one Canadian, who each work with CEOs and Leadership Teams across the world with a mission to build enduring, great companies. Each weekly episode covers interesting situations and questions from the world of strategic planning, leadership development, talent and hiring in high growth entrepreneurial companies where real results matter.
Core Purpose: Why Core Purpose matters and how to know if your Core Purpose is right.
This week on The Growth Whisperers Brad and Kevin talk about Core Purpose, why your company exists and why that is important. If you don’t have one, they discuss why you need a Core Purpose, and the difference Core Purpose makes to a company.
Then, if you do have one, they talk about how to know if your Core Purpose is right, with 4 key elements to test your Core Purpose.
Brad Giles 00:13
Welcome to the growth whispers where everything we talk about is how to build or building enduring great companies. I’m Brad Giles. And as always, I’m joined with my co host, Kevin Lawrence. Good day, Kevin, how you doing today?
Kevin Lawrence 00:29
I’m doing great, Brad, actually really looking forward to the show. We’re talking about one of my favorite things to talk about with, with new clients that I get the opportunity to work with.
Brad Giles 00:41
Awesome, awesome. This is I think this is Episode 35. Today, a bit of a milestone I suppose. Yeah. 35 weeks? Yeah. Not quite a year. But yeah, I just noticed that when we were talking about before, we’ve been going at it for a while. And we’ve got some good ones on the board. But I’m also excited about today.
Kevin Lawrence 01:03
Awesome. So why don’t we jump right in? What do we what are we going to to share and combine our thoughts around today? Brad?
Brad Giles 01:14
One of the I guess, like you said, one of the foundational elements, which is core purpose. Why does a company exist? So specifically, what’s the purpose of your company? why that matters? And how to know if you’ve got it? Right. So we’re going to dig deep into this really important subject?
Kevin Lawrence 01:36
Yeah. And you know, and I want to start with one of the questions that we often get asked, Well, we have a mission statement, what’s a purpose? And people get these terms mixed up all the time. I’ve got a view on it. I’d be happy to hear yours start off with, but Well, let’s start by defining the right terms. And you know, for the right things.
Brad Giles 01:59
Yeah, it can get a bit messy. Um, so I guess. Well, Simon Sinek is a is a thought leader in this area, Simon Sinek. As a first point, he says this really simple phrase, which is, people know what they do. They might know how they do it, but they don’t know why they do it. So really cool. Purpose is about why does your company exist? What would be missing if they went away?
Kevin Lawrence 02:33
Yes. And I’m curious, did Simon write that book after Jim Collins wrote about purpose in his books? I’m wondering, I’m pretty sure he did. And Jim was first and then Simon, almost built on it with his three circles, a lots of people obviously know about nerve. It’s a beautiful way to articulate it. Yeah, so and the other way that I look at it is is like mission statement is something that people used to do. The challenge with a frame mission statement. In military terms, when you talk about a mission, it’s actually like a tactical exercise. It’s not the big overarching and, and, and unfortunately, I have a very strong, some might say angry bias against mission statements. Because they generally sound like this. We’re going to be a great company and take care of our employees. So that we have these the services and the resources to support our clients with amazing customer service. And we are going to be an excellent community partner. giving back to the community has given so much to us. And we’re going to be amazing human beings. And we’re going to bring in the bathtub, and the kitchen sink, and the dishwasher and the dog next door, and everything is going to be wonderful because we exist as an amazing company here on this beautiful planet called Earth. damn things read like, yeah, like the person in the room that can edit the deck everyone’s best ideas and jamming together on one long freakin sentence. That means nothing. There’s nothing distinct, nothing meaningful. It’s just a bunch of corporate blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, so generally, mission struggles. I’ve seen mission statements I’ve seen not only are they up, we’re gonna be a bunch of great everything that we’re gonna say all the things that everybody wants to hear in one sentence, but they don’t derive meaning and impact in a company. So you know, I, I go back to the master of Jim Collins and say, Okay, what is Jim call it Jim says you need three things around your bigger picture, you need to have a thing called a B hag. A big goal. You need a purpose. Why you exist beyond profit, engineering core values, which is the behaviors that you live by in your company. There’s no mission, there’s no vision, those things combined with my creative vision, so, so we just sort of, say, mission statement aside, or we rename it purpose, and then make it really meaningful, like really meaningful. So in simple terms, from my perspective is, you know, purpose is a better way to look at many people would have called their mission or their vision in the past. But really, it’s why are you doing what you’re doing beyond profit? What’s your motive besides greed? You know, it’s the heart and soul, and the meaningful part of what you do not the monetary part of what you do.
Brad Giles 05:46
You could have picked my rant there, but yeah, no that’s so good. You could have picked anything to do. You know, there’s a whole range of different industries and different segments within those industries. Why didn’t you pick this one? What is it that attracted beyond profit? We keep saying that. So I like to think of it as in when we look through these things, I kind of say we look for different lenses. So imagine you’ve got a pair of glasses, that’s red, and one that’s great, and one that’s blue. So think about it like that, when we look through the profit lens. Okay, how do we make more profit, we put that on, and we only think about it through that lens. But then we take that off, and then we put the purpose lens on at this point, which is, we don’t think about the profit, we only think about why we exist. So that you’ve got to be able to say not pollute this, but what are you passionate about? What are you really passionate about? And why this company? Why do you devote your creative energies here, as opposed to somewhere else?
Kevin Lawrence 06:59
it’s a great way of putting it. And it’s this distinct reason why you started it, knowing that you could have made money anywhere, right? purpose beyond profit, right? Meaning over money, whatever you want to look at. So it’s Look, it’s very clear what it is. And we’ll give you some great examples. So, you know, I remember a company that I did some work with here in Vancouver. called close to contacts, clearly contacts. They had a few different brands, but they were online glasses and contact lenses. And theirs was, what was the word? I’ll remember in a minute, it was really powerful. But the essence of it was to stop the price gouging in by the optometrists. Yeah, because optometrists controlled your prescription, and therefore you had to buy glasses and contacts from them. So what they wanted to do is they wanted to break the I care cartel. They look at it like a drug cartel. And it sounds but it’s really is to, is to break it so that they could democratize prescriptions in Canada and other countries. So then you could buy them wherever you wanted. And basically have more of a free market, of where you could buy your glasses in context. And so that was theirs. It was a rallying cry. Remember, I did do a session where I did an education session on these tools that we use and scaling up and I educate they brought everyone in by busloads to a hotel Oh is that and a half day sessions for three days just busloads of people would come in and out to teach them the methodology so they can continue to grow. So it was a rallying cry for them you know and other examples like you know a company like Walt Disney, which is to make people happy. Right like they then they make billions of dollars doing it. But the drive is to make people happy and it goes right back to the founder or founders because you know Walt Disney founded it with his brother Ray but but but it was is to make people at every touchpoint you have with Disney almost every single thing you come away feeling happy. And that’s something that they’re, they’re driven to and I know, I remember one other and it was a company that I worked with for quite a few years. I still the founder is still a good friend. I talked to him regularly. But it’s a company called Aqua guards spill response in North Vancouver, Canada.
Kevin Lawrence 09:43
Yeah, Nigel is actually one of the opening stories is the opening story in your oxygen mask first. And when we were trying to figure out his purpose, and this is the thing, it’s sometimes so deep in our heart, we can’t see it. It’s always there in the heart of the founder always. It was never just to make money. They always wanted to do it better or different or for another reason. And so we were trying to figure out his purpose. And again, the company’s name is Aqua guard. And, and they claimed they have amazing equipment to win, there’s an oil spill to pull the oil out of the water very efficiently, and clean up the mess that gets made when there’s oil spills. So it was there talking, we worked on it, we had it on our planet, we just couldn’t nail it. We talked about it, we couldn’t nail it. Because we’re too close to it. Then one day, he’s interviewing a president for the company. And this guy came from a company that made consumer consumables that people have for a couple of years and then Chuck, and he goes, You know what, the President didn’t even you know, I I want to work with you guys. Because you guys don’t make junk to fill the landfills. Actually, you guys like protect the world’s number one resource and that’s water. Yeah. And Nigel, the CEO goes, man, I just got my purpose. You’re hired. That’s awesome. Half of that was great. Cuz he got his purpose. Yeah. The guy ended up being a little bit. Not quite a culture fit. A bit of an ass I actually had to, I actually almost had the guy pinned up against the wall once, like, energetically, I was pitting up against wall. I backed him up against the wall, and was talking to him about some stuff he was doing that was not okay. Yeah, I was watching his hands as he was doing it, because he probably could have knocked me out. But it was a good human being not the right fit way to have an aggressive abrasive type person for that for the point of it is he didn’t last. Yep. But nyjah found his purpose so as to protect the world’s number one resource colon water. The punch line is you’ve probably already figured out Brad is if you go back to the name, Aqua guard, watcher, guard, water protect isn’t the frickin name. Yeah, the name had the purpose embedded in it, we were just so close to it, we couldn’t see it until this outsider shared it.
Brad Giles 12:22
So here’s the thing, right when both of those examples, if we do that really, really well. If we protect the water, and, and we and we clean up the spills as good as we can, we will make a lot more money, but we can’t look at it through that lens. And the other example as well that you provided, we will make a lot more money. So that’s the irony of purpose. You’ve got to put the kind of, you know, horses, blinkers that you’ve got is
Kevin Lawrence 12:56
not a tree hugger. We don’t care about profit. We’re not commercial, it ain’t that. No. It’s just starting with being a company that actually has a big gimmick, cares and gives a crap.
Brad Giles 13:10
Yeah. And that’s, you’ve got to be able to tap into it. And the irony is, I absolutely guarantee that when you’ve spoken to those leaders before, you could see that passion to protect the water, you can see the passion in those other leaders, you can see it it’s applying his diet, and this is what Yes, I really want to do. And you can draw on that to get the purpose and, and people line up behind a purpose to I guess, to commit to that purpose. It’s a really valuable tool. So there’s a company that I work with, in Sydney, and they’re a Christmas company. Okay. So what that means is they do decorations for public spaces, think about shopping centers, and malls and airports, all have enormous public spaces, and they’ve got a large portion of the market. And so for them, they engaged a marketing firm to come in, and to try to figure out their core values and their core purpose. I think you can probably guess how that went, right? It was just not good. I’m sure they’re marketing,
Kevin Lawrence 14:35
marketing firms, we love them. They’re very, very valuable. But there’s a big difference between marketing and culture. And sometimes marketing firms have a hard time identifying the culture, but they sure can identify great stories for marketing and brand
Brad Giles 14:56
and greater than and yet, right yes, but no there are all sorts of different ones. Some of them might be good at this stuff. But what I ended up with when I started working with this company was, it was a terrible, terrible tagline that was inserted into the core purpose area. And the CEO had paid, let’s say, more than $10,000 for it, and thought it was because he paid for it thought it was good. No one on the leadership team knew what it was. Okay, so we just started an exercise and said, some, you know, what are you passionate about, and they were like, you know, we love it when we go out there. And we create these beautiful sceneries like, it’s like imagine the most beautiful Christmas decoration scenery. When we do that, and the kids come in, and then running and laughing, and the moms are happy, because the kids are, you know, the mums and dads are happy because the kids are loving it. And it was just there. And so we ended up saying, to create magical and memorable experiences that bring joy. And it probably took us a few quarters to absolutely nail that we went through a couple of iterations. But then we just kind of nailed it. And I said, That’s it, we’re not changing it, we’ve absolutely got it. Like that’s why we exist. When we do that. It’s awesome. And, and like I said before, the great, the really important thing to understand about it is that if we can create more magical and memorable experiences that bring more joy, will make more money. But that’s another lens. So the more that we can live our purpose. The more that we can be a profitable, enduring company.
Kevin Lawrence 16:46
Yes. And enduring is also key, because it kind of provides that North Star Southern Southern Cross for our thinking, to know it should take us in that direction. It should be consistent with that, and then not end up in weird places. Right, we have other things to help with that. But it’s one of the pieces that we can calibrate to. And it’s more about the mayor be not about what we do. But it’s about how we do it. And making sure that it fits within that way of thinking and being. Yeah, it’s amazing. Well, we got examples after examples. Sure, maybe we’ll share a couple more. And, you know, one of them. A large real estate developer that I work with in India worked on for probably 10 years. It’s the Gupta brothers and company called oshana. Homes. And yeah, anyways, they’re, they’re just amazing, they take big chunks of land, and build developments in India, but with amazing community services in the middle, and, and, and they so vibrant communities with, you know, swimming lessons and singing lessons and dancing lessons and, you know, education centers for the kids, it’s, you know, they’re they really, really care and even to the point that they maintain the properties they sell for ever. Most real estate developers, once they sell a property, they’re done with it in most countries that I’ve ever worked in around the world, they take a property, they sell it off and strata units, you know, so there’s the whole, all the community owns a little piece. And then you know, property manager takes it over a Shauna, they service it forever, which is servicing it maintaining properties is one of the hardest parts of the business. Hmm, you ask yourself, Well, why do they do it? Well, their purpose is, is called nurturing smiles. Right? It’s like they actually are driven by creating happy, vibrant communities. They really, really care about people living a great life in their communities. And they want lots of people to live in their communities. Because they think for the middle-income group they serve that it will be a better life for them and their families. Yeah. And it’s, by the way, nurturing smiles when I meet with these guys, and you know, unfortunately, it’s been more on zoom recently and not that I was supposed to be there actually, I was supposed to be there when COVID locked the world down. I was within 12 hours of taking a last-minute flight to get there I would have been stuck there for a while. Not the worst place in the world to get stuck I love it there and I love those guys. But when I with them normally my face hurts. Because we laugh so much and we have a ton of fun because they’re about creating happiness. Yeah, and their smiles and what they do so it’s you know, it’s it really drives a lot of the things that they do and it’s you know, their father started it and they want to keep that alive and keep that happiness alive. So is this it’s awesome. It just, you know, when a company is really purpose led you can feel it. Yeah, yeah, title. You can see it in this and by the way, you never worked For the company that is just about profit. You can feel when people have that long term thinking that enduring thinking, and aren’t just thinking about the short term buck. And it’s easier when founders are still involved.
Brad Giles 20:18
Because founders have that. But do you know what’s through all of that? Do you know what’s also awesome is when you nail the core purpose, and the whole leadership team I like, it’s, it’s like they’ve just had a light bulb appear over their head, or it’s it, they’ve got their cut, like they’ve just maybe not fallen in love, but they just like, this is, finally we understand why we can articulate why we’ve been here. Yes, and it’s so motivational and good. Like, it’s good to observe, you know, we’re a part of the team. But equally we aren’t, if that makes sense. But when you see that, it’s just, it’s just so rewarding to watch a team, nail their core purpose, and then just begin to kind of think, Wow, if we can do if we can continue to do this, we’ve been doing it, but we can continue to do this, like, this really matters. This is really important to us.
Kevin Lawrence 21:22
Yes. Do you know it? Yes, absolutely. And, and because it’s almost an excavation, or a or a showing of it, or helping them discover it, you don’t invent it every you don’t decide what it’s going to be, it’s already there. Yeah, it’s already there. Unless the company has really lost its way, then you have to go back, you know, 5, 10, 20 years. And that’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to capture this heart and soul of the business, to make sure we don’t lose it along the way and just become a big soulless machine. And it’s an amazing, easy every easy it all the pressures and the stresses and things you got to do, it’s easy to lose your way with it.
Brad Giles 22:06
Especially in companies that are listed on the stock market where, you know, the there can easily be a sense that, you know, why do we exist want to provide a return to shareholders?
Kevin Lawrence 22:20
Because that’s, that’s the environment, they’re in all day, every day. And it also is hard with, you know, depending on some listed companies, sometimes, you know, when there’s a lot of external money in it.
Brad Giles 22:35
Kevin Lawrence 22:36
Whether it’s private equity-owned, or others, or owned by a big corporate that doesn’t have a purpose. It’s easy because the money is there to get a financial return. Yeah, it because it’s you know, for it’s an investment instrument. Yeah. But for the founder and the leaders, it’s not just an investment instrument, normally, it’s something that they actually care about. So there’s, there’s kind of different in a conflict of interest, there’s different interest. capital is looking for a return from an instrument, that’s really all they’re thinking about. Whereas, you know, the person who wants to build this company from for generations has a different mindset,
Brad Giles 23:13
it’s just the job. But the job of the leadership team is to look through different lenses, you got to be able to take off the making money lens, to put on the core purpose lens, and not get polluted by that other one, because let me tell you, when we put on the making money lens, we’re the sole absolute complete, dedicated focus, like, how do we may have the greatest return that we possibly can, but then we take that lens off, and then we’ve got to look at this purpose lens and say, Well, you know, why do we exist, and it can be an unfamiliar or strange concept for people to get sometimes, but it can’t only be money, or else you enjoying, and it can’t only
Kevin Lawrence 23:59
be purpose, because if you’re only focused on purpose, you’re going to turn into a not for profit. And it’s the balancing of I’m wondering, Brad, if you need one lens, its purpose and the other that’s profit, you need to have like, it’s almost like looking through both lenses at the same time. There’s always a little bit of the purpose and a whole bunch of the profit, but it’s, it’s like if the purpose lens disappears, you’ll kind of you can go off in a weird direction.
Brad Giles 24:24
go to fit together. One of the things I talk to teams about is I’ve got this kind of slide and imagine a jigsaw puzzle that’s not quite finished. Okay. Yep. And, and I say, on the first slide is you can’t really tell what it is. It’s just a few jigsaw pieces. But then the second one is it’s a jigsaw that’s completed, which is a Matisse water painting. And it’s like, these things have to fit together. So your purpose has to logically fit with your profit per x. It has to logically fit with what you can be better But then all of the other things that are within your business plan like these things have to fit together. If we make more, if we live our purpose more, it should contribute to more profit per x. And it’s a little bit of art and a little bit of science through that, but they fit together.
Kevin Lawrence 25:22
last thing I’ll say, and I will get maybe getting some of these, but you know what, that is a little bit of a tribute to Tony Hsieh from Zappos, who sadly passed away this week as we’re recording this. And, you know, he wrote an awesome book, Delivering Happiness. And that was getting back to the purpose of Zappos that was the online shoe business that he sold to Amazon least a decade ago, although we continue to stayed on until just recently, but it’s what Delivering Happiness. And really, Zappos was trying to make people happy through these packages, that the things that people would order, and when they would receive them in the mail, and that has fit back into their customer service, culture, and all of these other things that they did, but in his mind, they were in the happiness business. And as someone who likes to buy things online, I can understand and appreciate that. Anyways, that’s true, Jim, he was he was an awesome, awesome, you know, inspiring leader. And did a lot of work and shared a lot of examples for people around purpose and values and culture.
Brad Giles 26:24
When I was I was in Las Vegas, I mean, aside maybe four or five years ago and got to do the tour of Zappos. And that Delivering Happiness was everywhere, like their core purpose. every person, every interaction. Yeah, it was, you could just sense it. All over the place. It was what though, and he was a fantastic philanthropist as well, is a little bit off the subject. But yeah, the work that he did for the Las Vegas community was was remarkable. I’ve heard so many stories, from people in the entrepreneurs organization on in online communities about the work that he did beyond what you kind of heard or saw. So yeah, fantastic entrepreneur. Yeah. who really did this purpose?
Kevin Lawrence 27:14
Yes, a great example. So let’s just kind of quickly go through, you know, the things that that ha, if you don’t have one, why should you have one, we got a few points that we can kind of really kind of list on make sure people get it?
Brad Giles 27:31
well, if you only about money, think about some of the examples we provided. So if you’re only about money, okay, we’re here to make money on you to make money, you’re here to make money. That’s all I want to talk about all day, every day, you might have a superficial alignment and engagement, but you don’t really like you’re not tapping into the deeper human spirit and volunteerism around what matters to people. So it’s, important if you’re looking at it, to say that people actually want to be connected to something, some vision, some reason for being, it’s a deep human need that we need to tap into. And, and if you can tap into it, to kind of be a bit more capitalist, you actually get a lot more out of people, because they feel like they’re working for a reason rather than $1.
Kevin Lawrence 28:36
Yes. And, you know, people, you know, forget sometimes, you know, one of the lower paid jobs in a lot of countries in the world lower, not lowest is soldiers. Right, soldiers don’t get paid. They’re not the highest paid for sure, right. They get paid reasonable wages, that reasonable compared to hourly wages. But those soldiers care about their country and what their country stands for. And they will know in some cases, they give their lives to fight for what they believe in their country. And their biggest reward and how they do it is based on pride, are we getting, you know, getting a ribbon or a medal of honor for their country? You can’t buy that? Yeah. And you know, the great militaries of the world know, and they know that people want to take care of their country and protect their country and the meaning behind it. And they don’t go around just offering massive financial incentives to go and do it because they know that’s not what’s gonna do. And the people that only come in for money, they’re probably not going to stay when it gets tough, they’re going to stay because they really care. And that caring is linked to a commitment. So
Brad Giles 29:42
I have one immediately sorry, I don’t want to make it late. But there’s been a number of employee engagement surveys and pay is like number seven in terms of, you know, what matters to you about your job and you know, Why do you stay here? You look at all of the surveys come back the same way. Pie. It’s, it’s like, it’s like food, food and oxygen, okay? They’re important to living, but they’re not the reason for living like the correct reason for political value people over believe in them
Kevin Lawrence 30:29
and how important money is in decisions in people’s lives. There’s a great book called The seven hidden reasons employees leave. And based on exit interviews, you know, what’s not in the seven? pour money? Yeah, yeah, pay is number eight. Right in even at study of the 10 or 20,000 exit. Yeah. So So firstly, engagement, for sure, it engages people, and makes you part of something meaningful, which we all want to be part of something meaningful. Yeah. Right. When you’re beyond basic survival, right, beyond labor, you know, if you can’t pay your bills, is it but once you can feel, sleep, and eat and shelter, and you know, and feed your family. Second thing is, is it really helps to pull a leadership team and an extended team together helps to align people it gives us that common so first thing is meaning, second is more like a common rallying cry, or what we’re here for common, you know, a belief that we believe in and ideally with your, with your purpose, it should bring the right people in, and then the others don’t want to come. Yeah, if you only being bringing people into money, I just finished listening to this amazing book about Stephen Cohen, who is from a famous hedge fund, multi billionaire. And it was just about the experience of the hedge fund business and what happened in the hedge fund business. Their purpose was profit. Many ended up in jail, you know, many were potentially going to go to jail because they were doing everything possible to make profit, and a lot of it wasn’t legal. Right. And, and, and just it’s but there was so much of it, and it was the culture they were surrounded by the purpose was profit.
Brad Giles 32:11
Yeah. Which will lead like, Okay, so that’s why we’re here. That’s why we exist is to make profit, how can we make more profit, and then more profit? And then what else?
Kevin Lawrence 32:21
What else can we do? What else? Yeah, yes. And when you incentivize your people heavily on the profit, and you have a culture of getting more profit? I mean, you’re setting yourself up for danger. Yeah, unless you don’t mind committing crimes and going to jail. And that’s, you know, and that would be that that ties into number three is that it kind of gets, you know, it gets beyond just greed. Yeah. and building a company around greed. I mean, maybe it works for you, I don’t want to be a part of a company. That’s just about all I love. Prop profit is wonderful. I’m not an anti I love profit and more profit is what is a measure of success in business. But just greed, you know, if you have a culture that’s just about making money, slash greed, one, it can bring in some crazy people. And it can bring in some crazy thinking, and it could lead you to some crazy results, right? And crazy things will happen in those cultures. And you know, and maybe that’s what you want, but it can
Brad Giles 33:19
use you, you go into a job interview, and you get a millennial to come in, and they sit across the table. And then they say to you, so why does this company exist? And then you say, so that I can make a lot more money and buy a bigger boat and have a fancy house. And hopefully, I’m going to get a plane one day, and their eyes will glaze over instantly, and they will never take the job like millennials like younger generations, we sound like too old when we look like younger generations. Like younger generations are absolutely about purpose, like what is the difference that you’re going to make in the world? How are you going to make the world a better place?
Kevin Lawrence 34:05
But Brad, I think that’s not just younger generations, I think people that are above poverty and survival are that way. Right? You know, if you really think about it, yes, you hear lots of these stories about millennials, but I think there’s a lot of people that aren’t millennials that that that want to, they want to feel important, and they’re like a part of something important and meaningful. Okay, we can we could debate that we don’t need to be
Brad Giles 34:30
No, I agree. Yeah, I agree. It’s just a bit more obvious in millennials. They might be
Kevin Lawrence 34:36
able to think so. Or to or topical. Yeah, I don’t know what it is. I mean, there are people that come from other generations where it was a lot less abundant. So they were just happy to have a job and to slog away. Yeah, where a lot of millennials come from more abundant environment. So they almost feel they have more choice in their Yeah, they have, the more it’s easier for them to honor their values in their own person. I think
Brad Giles 35:00
I think this side part that we’re saying is, you’re never going to build a team of a players. If you’re only focused on profit,
Kevin Lawrence 35:10
well, I would argue that you actually could, you can build a team of greedy a players that only care about it and could make a lot of money. Just got to be careful, because you might end up going to some jail, and I’m gonna, I’m not gonna, I can be very generic. And I want to say, I worked with a company that was quite successful. And we, we worked on the purpose, but for a number of the people profit was the number one motive. Yeah. And without divulging any particulars, there’s one gentleman that almost caused a few of them to go to jail, or could have caused a few of them to go to jail. He actually didn’t go to jail himself. But he could have, there was, there was the quite likely you, you know, I don’t know, I’m not the judge. And, you know, I don’t have all the data, but there was potential for a case that he could have gone to jail for what he did. And he could have caused other people to potentially go to jail because of that. And, and that’s, that’s, that’s dangerous stuff.
Brad Giles 36:18
There’s nothing that you say that Mike’s a high quality, I play a want to work for that organization.
Kevin Lawrence 36:28
But they did have some high quality a players there, that’s a very, very high quality people. So they were there was most a players for what they were for what the company was, what I’m saying is, you can build a high performing team, but if you just build them around profit or too much around greed, it’s really dangerous. Because, you know, they will get there, they will crush the goals, they will get the performance is just at what cost?
Brad Giles 36:59
Yeah, that’s it. And I think about Jordan Belfort and all of this stuff that we saw in the movie, you know, that that was produced about him. And yeah, I mean, you know, a purpose will tie a team together. And it’s Yes, so important. It is.
Kevin Lawrence 37:20
So the final thing is it also tells us what not to do if we know what we are about and who we are about. It can kind of keep us and provide guardrails and tell us some of the things that we shouldn’t do. Because if it doesn’t tie back into that, why would we be doing it? And there was some controversy in Disney by the Disney family. When the CEO of Disney with Emily, it was Michael Eisner that night at the time, but might have been somebody else but the CEO of Disney at the time, was starting to get into some television networks, where they had a little bit of racy adult programming. Not Not Not Not adult as in pornography, adult, but just you know, stuff that you wouldn’t want families watching. Yeah. And there was a lot of controversy. I read about the other controversy with no because they the family didn’t believe in it, because it was almost in their mind. It was off purpose. But it’s a bolt mill, you know, some of the stuff in there didn’t fit with their making people happy. And yeah, so
Brad Giles 38:14
let’s just get on that super quick. So we go back to your example of the company that was Aqua guard with Aqua guard. So protecting the water with a good purpose, they should be able to say which they’ve got, is it helping us to protect the water? So yeah, they’re going to take on a new initiative, maybe there’s a total right, we’re going to start selling alcohol, or we’re going to start selling trucks or something completely unrelated. We shouldn’t do it because it doesn’t help us
Kevin Lawrence 38:50
to further our purpose, to further interestingly, you know, Nigel, the founder and I were having a co founder Actually, he bought his partner at one point, we’re having a conversation with this because he was figuring what he was going to do next. He’s got a great president, the runs company and he’s got time what was he gonna do? Well, he started another business called True beach, which is an app to help measure the cleanest beaches around the world and to help people report you know, beaches where there’s lots of garbage and things that are polluting the beach, and then have crews that go and help clean up some of these beaches. So it’s another thing about protecting water and not in the form of protecting beaches, which I thought was awesome. Again, because it ties back into the purpose of the company, which is his purpose as well.
Brad Giles 39:43
I love that. That’s so good to have, you know, if you haven’t, right, so that’s Yeah, that’s why you need one the first few things we’ve been through but now let’s pivot a little bit. How do you know if you’ve already got a core purpose? How do you know that you’ve got it right. Well, first of all, Like, it’s easy to understand, it should be simple to protect the water. Maybe I didn’t do that justice. But it’s something like that right? To create memorable and magical experiences that bring joy simple.
Kevin Lawrence 40:16
To make people happy. I’ve got a company in Canada, I’ve worked with for years, they’re there throughout North America, it’s called the little potato company. And their purpose is to save the potato and feed the world better. That’s been their purpose for a decade, and they keep growing. But in the company, it’s in the heart and soul. Like they want potatoes were dying off people, they got big, bland and boring, and potato consumption was dropping, dropping, they have these little colorful, more nutritious, more flavorful potatoes. And now they’re building consumption of theirs and bringing the potato back to life. And they also believe it is an amazing efficient food crop and all these other things around feeding the world better. And, and they donate an incredible amount of potatoes to food banks, like it’s alive in the company. Right? It’s and it’s meaningful to them. And it’s,
Brad Giles 41:09
Kevin Lawrence 41:10
there’s lots of lots of examples. But it’s very simple.
Brad Giles 41:14
That’s a great example. Because you would think that potato farming might not be the thing that you could find a core purpose on. And you can find a core purpose, everywhere, like there are people who are passionate about so many things. Yes, like we said before, you’ve just got to discover it, you’ve got to like, sift away the dirt, and it’s in there, you’ve just got to find it. And when you unlock it, you’re right. So if that’s number one, it’s going to be simple and easy to understand. Number two, it should inspire you and your team. So it should be inspirational.
Kevin Lawrence 41:50
It’s not just logical when it grabs, you know, another entrepreneur, he was actually a manufacturer. And you know, when we were doing the discovery part of the purpose, I kept asking, Well, why did you Why Why did you start it? Why what was it was all this intellectual seven, finally we got to a point and he started crying. Awesome. And you know, you’re there. And for him, it was to give the opportunity to everyone and anyone in their business, they often hire down and out people and give them an opportunity in your factory. And in his mind, any one of them had the opportunity to have his job, you know, to have the pride and the dignity of building a great career. And they could if they did the work and earn their way do his job or any job in a company, but it was giving an opportunity to everyone and anyone.
Brad Giles 42:44
That’s so nice. Yeah, it
Kevin Lawrence 42:45
was. So now and the business made a lot of money too. But that was that’s what drove his heart. That’s what he that was so true for him. So there’s lots of examples, but it should inspire you and your team and be something that you’re like this is you know, this gets me excited. And even going back to the potato people. Angela, the Santiago, the CEO, you know, remember when she first started, she finally crafted a story about her purpose. And she made a PowerPoint presentation. I am not exaggerating. When she did it the first time I started to well up, awesome. She was talking about potatoes. But it was so meaningful to her I could feel the energy and the passion and it was impactful. Because it was it’s a cause for her. And her team. It’s Yeah. You know, The next one is it’s there’s this distinction between a marketing tagline and then real heart. And so and that’s why Look, I come from the marketing industry. So I’m calling myself out on this is that we generally don’t let marketing touch it until it’s finished. Yeah, because marketing by nature, most not all, but a majority of marketing goes towards the customer. And forward facing the old customer facing, and, and positioning. And if you go to that too much, you’ll miss the heart and soul, you’ll be up in the brain thinking about what the customer needs and how it benefits the customer. So this is a heart and soul exercise. And so, you know, we don’t let the marketing department run it for sure. And we love marketing departments. But it’s more done with the founder and the executive team if we can to really discover it and we’ll let the marketers do some stuff with it afterwards. And that way it stays away from being a tagline or a slick slogan and we can really capture the essence.
Brad Giles 44:39
Yeah, taglines. I don’t know, I think it’s it’s a perfectly good waste of pixels many times like you know, like and I say that with a extremely dry sense of humor because pixels are free, right. And so For those listening on the podcast, Kevin’s was laughing at that I have somebody somewhere I certainly laughed. But the point is, is that, you know, taglines can be completely worthless. And it’s like, just to make it sounds cool. Or it’s like, yeah, that’s pretty snappy. Like, that means nothing like to save the potato. Right? To save the potato. That’s, that’s meaningful that’s connected to why, what the founder, what the leadership team are deeply, deeply passionate about. And that’s why we’re doing the why, why are we doing
Kevin Lawrence 45:36
a case, By the Way, Angela and her father, and they have a video that their father shares it, her father and her having conversations about the potatoes of her dad’s youth. And they really the essence of the Genesis was bringing the potatoes of her dad’s youth which were way better than these big bland, boring things, bringing them to life. Yeah, it was all hard. So yeah, so a lot of marketers, we need marketers to help us share our messages and spread our messages. But under some marketing firms that are good at this, but by nature, this is a conversation founder, or founders or the or the team to really tap into it. And then we let the marketers run with stuff afterwards. But this is Yeah, capture the heart and soul. It doesn’t sound like a tagline. It’s not something that you’re gonna run a run and tell your customers about. It’s often even just an internal thing. It’s not it, sometimes it does. But sometimes it doesn’t get used externally.
Brad Giles 46:34
Yeah. Well, so many people say, so why did you, you know, what are we going to do with this? And it’s like, it doesn’t matter what we’re going to do with this. What matters? You know, are we going to communicate this to clients or staff? Because that means that it’s like, it doesn’t that doesn’t that’s, I don’t even care about that. What matters is, is it true? Is it the reason that we exist?
Kevin Lawrence 46:58
Yes. Brad, the same things. I’m like, okay, we’re not gonna think about our team. We’re not even gonna think about our customers at this point, because it’s not about them. It’s capturing the essence of the heart and soul of the company. Yeah, and that we don’t want to pollute our thinking.
Brad Giles 47:14
So then number four, we’ve got forever passion and goal. What that means is, would it be still relevant in 100 years? Okay, so if your purpose, let’s say, for example, something that’s completely timely, to, I don’t know, Facebook, or Coronavirus, or 2020. Like it was completely timeless and could date and not even last a couple of years. But would this still be relevant in 100 years to so to create magical and memorable experiences that bring joy 100 years no problem. So to save the potato 100 years, no problem. Like these are things that could be still as valid in 100 years as they are today. And that content tends to cut out a lot of weak or unoriginal or inappropriate purposes.
Kevin Lawrence 48:13
Absolutely. Don’t even think of like for our firm, or, you know, our purpose is to have CEOs and leaders have at all, which is success at work, and a thriving life to right now, that’s something I’ve been working on for 25 years already. And I’m going to keep working on that the rest of my career. And hopefully, the firm continues on beyond me, and it continues to help CEOs and leaders have it all. Yeah, because that’s what we’re, that’s what we’re fired up about. We don’t just care about making money. And we don’t just care about having a great life, we want to you know, find the way to have the end in between the two.
Brad Giles 48:51
And if you can help more CEOs to have it all, you will make more money like that, that is the essence of purpose. Like we if we save the potato, we should be able to make more money, but the but it’s not, it’s not how we build it, it’s got to connect to those other things. So that really, I guess that really rounds out if you’ve got one How do you do it? So let’s just maybe take a step back and look at the summary so we’ve got two major parts here. The first one is if you don’t have one Why do you need it? So first of all, we said engagement right so we want the team to be connected to some vision beyond profit something that’s meaningful and bigger than them It can align a leadership team and it in brings the team together is number two. It also can keep toxic thinking and corruption at by is number three. But then number four, if you don’t have one, why do you need one is it tells us what not to do. So it tells us what strategies to not pursue And and that’s really important. When you’re thinking, How were we going to use this? If we start one in 2345 years? It gives you a level of discipline. But if you’ve already got one, what do you do? If you’ve already got a core purpose? How do you know it’s right? Well, number one, it’s easy to understand. It’s simple. Number two is it should inspire you and your team. It should be inspirational save the potato is inspirational. It’s got a real heart and soul it should have an almost visceral when you think about it enough effect on you. It’s not just a tagline that might sound snappy. And then I guess number four would be it’s able to be still as relevant in 100 years. It’s like it’s forever.
Kevin Lawrence 50:55
Yep. Great summary, Brad, any other share one last example. And I’d be remiss not to share this. Well, I see you I work with in Chicago, I’ve got no annual planning with them. Starting tomorrow morning. It was Angela Morris company called medx. He wrote a book about this called one with purpose. And he tells the story of how he used purpose, to lead his son’s football team to victory. in a way that’s unbelievable, he got these young boys playing for someone else. And there was a young girl in the community who passed away of cancer. And they got a name was Caitlin and they had this thing called Caitlin’s rock the Andrew led the charge to get a built at the park near her house, he would have the boys go there’s where they practice football, and go and, and, and be committing their game for catering to before they played. So this whole purpose about playing for somebody else, which is a beautiful thing to teach young athletes, you don’t see a lot of that. And he shares in the same year how he led his football team, to their to an amazing victory. And at the same time, his company hit the first of the company’s Super Bowls, which is 100 million in revenue. And he said to the whole team of which I’m been their coach for years, that we are I have my first Super Bowl ring for him we hit 100 million, you know, this year, we’re probably going to get our second ring, because the company is doing out standing just amazing, amazing company. But he wrote this book about winning with purpose and how it helped actually how he believes it helped his football team to win, which I think it did, and his company because it’s more than just profit. It was one with purpose if you want to read about a perspective of your football fan, from a CEO who’s kind of used it in both sport and in business. Awesome. Well, this has been the growth whispers podcast with Brad and Kevin. Thanks for listening. And you know, if you want the video version, go to YouTube and search the growth whispers and to reach Brad evolution partners.com.au or for me, Lawrence and co.com. Have an awesome week.