Leadership / Management | Organizational Development | Training & CPE

Use the power of purpose to boost performance and retain top talent

Purpose is one of the most powerful forces a leader has in his / her toolkit. It is a recruitment and retention tool and often the catalyst that inspires people to give their best. It is also an absolute requirement for working with Generation Y; they will insist on a meaningful purpose in their jobs and for many of their activities.

High_perfromance_firm_2 Our research into high-performance firms shows a significant increase in performance among firms and companies that build purpose and vision into their organizations. Using our chart at right (developed with my colleagues, Jeannie Patton and Carol Kirwan, and using the reflexive model from David Sibbet at Grove), you see "purpose" as the "ball" in the upper left corner. It is the spark that ignites the passion and momentum and creates a higher reflexive "bounce" on the other side. This is a common ingredient in all high performing organizations. It is also the No. 1 reason that top talent will stay with your organization, according to the AICPA PCPS Top Talent Study .

I came across a great example of "purpose" from author/consultant Tim Sanders that I want to share with you. I have been a fan of Tim Sanders' since seeing him at the Digital Now Conference in 2005. His book, Love is the Killer App, is a must-read for any professional that wants to thrive in a knowledge-based world. I subscribe to Tim's blog and caught this clip of him telling the story about the brick mason who was "building a cathedral" versus the brick mason "earning a living." During the CPA Vision Project, we came up with a cool purpose for the whole CPA profession: "CPAs ... Making sense of a changing and complex world." This was part of the inspiration for our own purpose at the MACPA: "Enabling our members to grow, prosper and remain viable in a dynamic, rapidly changing environment while protecting the public interest we serve."

Take a look at it and ask yourself if you have communicated the purpose of your organization to your team. Do you have your own purpose?

Download a copy of our high-performance firm charts here.

In these tough times, this is an easy to implement solution that yields a high return. Do you have any examples of using purpose in your work?