What are you here for?

February 14, 2012

I remember the first time I sat with my two other directors and asked the question ‘What are we here for?’

The answer of ‘we are a firm of chartered accountants’ did not really convey what we were or what we aspired to be. That’s who we are, but what are we here for? What’s the point of our business?

Not only is it essential for the business owner to know the answer but for the senior team and all team to know, truly know, the answer to this question – what is the point of our business – what are we here for?.

Can you tell me what your business is about in 10 seconds? I don’t mean in a glossy sales, elevator pitch, scripted way. But in a way that speaks from your heart of what you are trying to achieve in your business. In a way that someone, anyone, can understand. In a way that makes sense.

It’s a simple question that needs a simple answer. However, the more we develop our thinking around this question, the more it becomes apparent that you have to work really hard to get this level of simplicity. As business owners, we are wrapped up in our businesses and over complicate everything about them. It takes time and effort to get a truly simple answer to the question of ‘what we are here for?’

Verne Harnish, author of ‘Mastering the Rockafellor Habits’ calls this question, the ‘core purpose’. Do you have a ‘core purpose’ in your business? Do all of your team know what it is? Do you act in a way that is consistent with this ‘core purpose’?

The core purpose has to be a simple straightforward statement but it may take time to get there. For insight into this, ask your team what they believe your core purpose is, you may be surprised at the answers.

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