Purpose Still Propels Change

“Why.” It’s the favorite word for children, constantly seeking one goal: Purpose.

What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) is a fancy phrase for “Why.” It, too, seeks purpose. If you want me to do something new, I need to know why:

  • Why me
  • Why now
  • Why would I want to do this?
  • Why is this to my benefit?

It all adds up to purpose. Purpose is most easily defined as positive impact on others. There is purpose when we give to help the homeless, when we stop to help someone with car trouble, when we defend someone against a bully. A life without purpose is aimless and dull.

Several years ago a Canadian study found that employees would forego a retention bonus of $10,000 to take a new role that offered more purpose. People were willing to embrace dramatic change for the opportunity to positively impact other peoples’ lives.

And now Gallup has reinforced that finding in a recent survey of Americans:

  • 55% say they would move jobs to work at an organization that makes a greater positive impact on society, and 
  • 25% would make the move to more purpose even if it meant taking a 10% pay cut. For younger Americans 29% would accept the cut to have a greater positive impact. 

Every single employee should have clear line of sight from what they do to how they impact people: clients, customers, communities…even a country or world. 

When you want to motivate people to embrace change, bring people into focus. Demonstrate how a change will benefit not just your employees, but others inside and outside the organization. We want strong corporate citizens. This is the way.

Thoughtfully yours, 
Jeff Skipper

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