Meaning is proving to be the new money. Entrepreneurs everywhere, as well as employees, are making changes towards finding greater meaning in their lives, or what has become known as "finding their WHY." No longer satisfied with chasing the next pay rise or climbing the corporate ladder for the sake of it, people and companies are making the move towards a "new paradigm of business," which among other ideals, includes being motivated by a higher purpose. I call the process of making the choices towards meaning: a purpose pivot.
The term pivot in the business world has become popular due to the success of the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Part of lean methodology is the process of launching fast, getting feedback, editing and if necessary pivoting in a new direction of innovation. Continually iterating and improving the product intelligently, with the intention of finding the best solution for a problem.
The intention of a purpose pivot goes beyond pivoting to increase productivity among staff and growing the bottom line. The idea is applied in a multi-dimensional way across all stakeholders, and involves redesigning HOW we succeed to include metrics of happiness, well-being, community, and the environment. Where traditionally a business would often choose to pivot toward a financial goal, instead would now base the pivot on alignment with it's defined higher purpose, while still keeping in mind the bottom line.
A higher purpose can be as simple or lofty as you decide, the primary differentiator is in the fact that success is not only measured by shareholder value, and that new metrics are added to the equation. This is not just a 'feel good' idea either, BLab is an emerging non-profit group serving this movement, Certified BCorps are part of the BLab initiative to help companies recalibrate towards their chosen intention by providing a guide on legal infrastructure and related resources.
A purpose pivot can be a huge moment for an existing 'commoditized' company, unlike a new startup, which can often have a higher purpose or sense of meaning organically built into it's DNA from the start. An existing company wishing to start bringing these ideas to the table, needs to draw a line in the sand one day and begin to make new choices. While the change doesn't happen overnight, it has to begin sometime.
My own experience with making a purpose pivot has been personal, as well as commercial. I made a choice one day towards living my life according to a higher purpose, and with that I realized I needed to bring my career along for the journey. Decisions like this are not done in halves unfortunately.
I have been known for saying, 'How you play the game is the game.' Choosing to pivot towards a higher purpose is definitely a game changer, and there has never been a better time to insist on making a meaningful contribution to your life and the world.
Getting ready to answer the inner call and making a purpose pivot can be daunting, but also inspiring. Here are six things to know before starting:
1. It takes courage.
It may feel like the biggest risk you have ever taken in business. Depending on the size of the business or your levels of attachment, it can feel like turning around the titanic. Or free-falling waiting for a parachute to open.
2. It takes grit and determination.
Get ready for a journey. You will be learning new ways of thinking, new language and will be testing emerging ideas in real time in your own business or career. This is commercial innovation in action -- there's no text book just yet.
3. Step into purposeful leadership.
What happens in a purpose pivot is that your vision becomes vital to getting your team on board, and you will need to lead and inspire your team in ways that share your authentic mission, vision and purpose. This will be new to most leaders who have been used to leading with financial and quarterly goals at the fore.
4. It takes authenticity, humility and trust in yourself.
You may feel naked in your first meeting sharing your new ideas, but you will also feel exhilarated at the freedom and joy that comes with aligning to a higher purpose, and seeing the purpose ignite your team.
5. You need to be married to your purpose.
You must be committed, really and completely, to the purpose and the pivot. There is no turning back. You may be tempted by shiny gold nuggets and easy wins that will steer you off track, but you need to stay committed.
6. Forget about work-life balance.
Integration is your new mantra. You are now actively seeking ways to bring energy and creativity to everything you do in work and play, so you don't have to wait until you retire, or the weekend, before you have a joyful and meaningful life.
A purpose pivot is the very thing that can shift your feelings of boredom, a sense of meaninglessness at work and reignite your passion for life, and in turn filter through to your team and family. Businesses all over the world are showing how having a purpose and a team aligned with that purpose are creating flourishing community oriented organizations which are sustainable and healthy.
Time and again I have witnessed people choose to act according to a higher purpose and their lives change. And it's not always the circumstances that change, simply changing one's attitude and gaining clarity on your WHY can make a huge difference to your happiness.
For more about what to expect when going through a purpose pivot check out this article about the steps involved when making that choice!
Here's to you happiness!