A purpose statement can’t be self-indulgent or self-draining. It must state how you will both give and receive value.
“Well-balanced [purpose] statements will be reciprocal and define our relationship to our community. By reciprocal, we mean a two-way benefit…Self-sacrifice is often simply uncreative problem solving, which perpetuates limits rather than correcting them.” – Robert J. Wright in Beyond Time Management: Business with Purpose
Purpose must provide value to both you and others (i.e., customers, employees, stakeholders). Purpose statements cannot be self-indulgent nor self-draining.
A statement all about you won’t be supported by your customers. If your passion doesn’t profitably meet a need, you’ll soon learn the world owes you nothing.
A statement all about giving will drain you and leave you empty. Sometimes you must make sacrifices. Sometimes you need to chase the cash to keep your company going. Over the long term, you and your company will need to receive value from the value you give.
Joey Reiman, in The Story of Purpose, describes how it should work: “Purpose-driven organizations create more good in the world, which begets greater profits, which allows them to create even more good. It’s a virtuous, never-ending cycle.”
I wish you a virtuous cycle of purpose and profit. I wish you well.
- Rob Stephens
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