How to Build a True Goal-Driven Company Culture

My favorite word has always been “why”. Understand the “why” before asking more questions.

Why build a goal-oriented corporate culture?

A goal-oriented corporate culture is clear about its direction and actively ensures that everyone in the company is working in the same direction. Each individual has a sincere sense of belonging to the goal. A goal-oriented culture works even more effectively when the overall business goal aligns with the individual’s personal goal. Truly embodying the business purpose makes day-to-day decision making easier, more efficient and less energy and time consuming.

Does your business have a purpose? Do you live and breathe this purpose?

Many studies now point to how (truly) purpose-driven companies outperform the markets.

  • The hunt for profit provides even less satisfaction to employees than to its leaders. Many employees want to make a difference in the world, and a company with a meaningful purpose makes that possible. Millennials and Gen Z employees are far more demanding of who they work for than previous generations, which poses a long-term existential threat to for-profit companies.
  • Although being creative can be advantageous, when combined with a lack of a clear and well-defined goal, it can lead to chaos.

How are you creating a goal-oriented corporate culture?

The CEO of the company must first be clear about his personal objective before developing the objective of the company. A company’s culture, purpose, and vision are conveyed directly by the CEO. Therefore, if the CEO is unclear about his own purpose, he cannot be clear about his company’s purpose. The company’s goal should reflect the personal goal of the CEO.

How do you discover your personal goal and that of your company?

Have you ever heard a song, read a phrase, heard a child laugh, or watched a sunrise and felt a shiver go down your spine and feel a deeper connection to yourself and the world in that moment? It is the experiences that remind us of what is real and important. The goal is to acknowledge a sense or feeling that there is something bigger than yourself.

According to most dictionaries, purpose means: “the reason why something is done or created or why something exists”. Many companies and individuals use the words mission or vision for what I would call a goal, but in my opinion the key is to have an overriding goal/mission/vision that guides everything you do.

The Japanese have a word for the purpose of life – ikigai, which literally means “a purpose”. I’ve also heard it described as “the reason I get up in the morning.” It’s very simple – if you find yourself in the sweet spot where the four circles of the ikigai map intersect, then you’re more likely to find yourself jumping out of bed in the morning, full of joy!

Many clients come to see me because their lives lack meaning or direction. They say they feel empty inside and are looking for something outside. They feel unhappy and lost, and my job is to help them find or rediscover the meaning of their lives. I see purpose as much more than a career path: it’s an overarching statement that relates to and impacts all parts of your life, including how you present yourself at work, how you are with your family, friends , yourself and even complete strangers. The goal is your “why”. It sums up what lies behind who you are and what you do. It’s the reason you get up in the morning and what keeps you going when you feel like giving up. There is a subtle difference between mission, purpose and vision: purpose keeps you focused on what you exist for; it is the why behind the action. Vision is the ability to imaginatively plan for the future and align with your purpose. The mission is the way you are going to accomplish it, the action you must take.

Having a clear purpose helps you navigate the chaos and decide where to focus your energy. It can also strengthen your resolve and help you achieve your dreams. We are all born with a purpose and some of us are lucky enough to stay connected to it from an early age. Unfortunately, most of us forget about it or become disconnected from it because of the expectations of others. It can take many years to begin to listen to that small inner voice inviting us to rediscover and reconnect with our vocation.

I had the chance to meet Bernardine Evaristo the night she won the Booker Prize. I had read and loved his book Girl, Woman, Other. She was open, humble and as excited as a schoolgirl. It took Bernardine 60 years to finally be recognized on the world stage for her body of work. His latest bookManifest, is to never give up. She says there is a manifesto within each of us – a knitted patchwork of our life experiences, the generations that have come before us, the struggles we have experienced, and the hope for a better future for all. I see this manifesto as another way of describing purpose. I also believe that the less privileged in society are most in need of a goal or a manifesto. The more privileged you are, the less you need to fight to understand your motivation and direction, because you already have a lot at your disposal. Ironically, however, having it all can lead to a feeling of emptiness inside. I continue to be moved by Bernardine and others who have used their experiences to fuel their desire for change. Do you dare to rethink and change?

You can also apply the concept of flow to the development of your personal goal. Being “on the move” means that you engage in an activity that you enjoy and become so engrossed in what you are doing that you lose track of time. You become one with this activity and everything around you. The concept has been around for hundreds of years, but it was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who popularized it. He observed musicians in an orchestra and asked the question, “Why are they happy?” He found that they were doing what they loved, with a clear purpose, and concluded that happiness = purpose + flow. He talks about the juxtaposition between challenge and skill and how if you find a balance between the two, you can enter your flow channel. However, if you are overstretched and lack the required skills, you may feel anxious. And if you engage in an activity that involves less skill, you are likely to get bored. It also talks about an activity that you enjoy going from pleasure to passion and leading to your higher purpose. If we are encouraged to experiment and live our purpose, we become our best selves. However, too often, as children, we are pushed in other directions and weighed down by expectations that do not belong to us.

A question I often get asked is whether the goal is related to your work or your entire life. A number of leaders make a distinction between business and personal goals. My conviction is that this separation is artificial. When I’m on the ski slopes or walking in the woods thinking about life, is that work or not? While writing here, I’m working, but also having fun and feeling full of energy. I feel like my goal is for my whole life and that just feels right. I encourage you to trust the process of finding your purpose and see what emerges over time.

Once you have thought about your purpose and how you might achieve a state of flow, it is essential to develop your psychological and emotional self-awareness. It’s about how you manage and process your emotions, how you react to others, and how you behave. In fact, awareness is the first step to changing the way you react and respond to life. With awareness comes choice – the choice to change the way you approach your life. Without conscience, you cannot make this choice.

Rosemary Napper, author of Tactical and director of TAWorks, told me: ‘It is only from our adulthood that we are able to lead. We need to inhabit our adulthood to learn, stay present, gain self-awareness, and discover who we are as a leader. This is where our passion can be ignited and where we find our individual leadership style. To lead, you must know your unique purpose, which can only be discovered from the adult ego state.

To be a truly authentic leader, you need to be clear about your purpose – why you’re here, why you get up in the morning, and what your purpose in life is. And then, to live from this place.


Written by Eudora Pascall.
Did you read?
4 Ways to Boost a Culture of Accountability – Even with Hybrid Teams by Dr. Paige Williams.
The World Is What We Make It By Leo Bottary.
How to build effective and healthy relationships with colleagues by Margie Ireland.
If the big resignation is the problem, leadership is Gerard Penna’s answer.

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