This past week I received the first draft cover design for my next book and the process of word-smithing the subtitle, with Kathy of The Business Lab, we hit on my “TRUE North” for my current business, Heart Matters, Inc. The book title is: The Art of Inspiration, Stories of Leaders Who Intentionally Forge Cultures that People Love. Funny, how “a-ha’s” show up! In my post of December 4, 2014, I mentioned my search for a Heart Matters, Inc. tag line that suited my purpose … my TRUE North … for me and hence, my customers. Now I have it: “helping leaders forge cultures that people love”.
My brand claims TRUE North as a label for purpose. Other labels for corporate purpose are: core ideology, ethos, mantra, etc. If you examine sustained high performance organizations, they maintain an elevated esprit de corps by declaring, communicating and validating their TRUE North. The leaders profiled in my first book, Peerless, are men and women who used purpose as a compass bearing, which in turn gave their employees’ work meaning.
To add to my excitement about the new book subtitle I discovered Gary Keller’s new book (with J Papason ) ONE Thing. Gary uses stories to explain how personal and corporate purpose … one thing … fulfills human desires. Inspiration comes from fulfilled human desires. He cites Dr. Martin Seligman, Past President of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Seligman believes there are five factors that contribute to our happiness: positive emotion and pleasure, achievement, relationships, engagement, and meaning. Of those, he believes engagement and meaning are the most important. Segilman states that when our daily actions fulfill a bigger purpose, the most powerful and enduring happiness can happen.
Purpose gives meaning to work in any organization. That’s the secret of Disney ( happiness ), Southwest Airlines ( democratizing the skies ), and SC Johnson ( global well-being ), for example. If you liken business to the exploration of new frontiers and competitive victories … then purpose is the “why” of your endeavor. When your “crew” knows why you are “in business”, they are inspired to contribute because now they are part owners in the mission success. A powerful blend of “business exploring” would be John Kennedy’s declaration of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth by the end of the decade”. A compelling purpose? … to catch up and pass the Russians and in the process complete the mission? Was that fulfilling work? Yes, from astronaut to mailroom clerk.
My own expression around the subject is: “culture is like a compass and the leader’s heart is a reflection of TRUE North”. TRUE North suggests both a destination and a bearing that does not drift throughout the journey. There’s something magical, spiritual and mysterious about why “why” is inspiring, right? When work has meaning beyond job descriptions and pay grades another human gear is engaged and it comes from the heart and mind. Maybe, it’s just enough as leaders for us to prove that people Matter.