Mistake 6 – Purpose – don’t have one, don’t stand for anything
You don’t have to have a purpose. You can have a bland “mission statement”. You can have a bland brand “we do things well”. But if you do so you will risk being treated as a commodity. After all why should I buy your cornflakes? In a world of excess competition you have to give me something to believe in, something to buy into.
In a world of sales resistance, of decision fatigue, of stress and overload your purpose can really motivate other people. Don’t forget in a BigCo a lot of the people on the other side of the table from you have often thought about a more satisfying career on the creative edge (rather than towing the party line). You want to light up the room. Absolutely true if you are in a competitive tender or some such. You must be memorable. You must be magical. You must stand for something. Even if it’s “our purpose is to be cheaper, faster” or “our purpose is to deliver on time and on budget”.
And there’s a really cool spin-off to Purpose. It’s your North Star – so folks will forgive you even if you don’t make it. After all our life purpose may be peace&love – but we don’t get there every day. If you stand for something – and apologise and fix problems – people will support you more when you are on the ground than if you are just there “for the money”.
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