Leading with Noble Purpose
Written by Dave Rothacker
”How was your day, honey?”
“Oh babe, our department killed it! I did $4,200, Bobby did $3,800, Ken did $4,500, and I know Ralph was over $3,000! We drove wheel barrels of money into Frank’s pocket and when it comes time for our 1% raise, we can fight for 1.25% because we know we’ve been bringing home the bacon!” said no HVAC service technician ever in the history of the universe.
“How was your day, honey?”
“Oh babe, you’re not gonna believe this! Frank brought Christy Jones in to talk with our entire company. Christy owns Your Little Hearts. You know, those daycares all over town? Jeff sold Christy that PureAirx air purification system I told you about.
Anyhow, Christy is up there talking and she breaks down in tears. I guess parents have been flooding in thanking her for taking care of their kids. Word got around town that fewer kids have been sick and now Christy has waiting lists at all her centers! I couldn’t believe how many were tearing up as Christy spoke!”
As a coworker, can you imagine sitting there listening to Christy? How proud you must feel to have known you made a real and positive difference in people’s lives? And it doesn’t matter if you are the tech who turned the idea over to Jeff, Jeff himself, the installers, or anyone else in that company. Your company collectively made the difference!
Leading with Noble Purpose
In her book, Leading with Noble Purpose, Lisa Earle McLeod paints the purpose over profit argument with beautiful brush strokes of clarity. People are more motivated to make a difference in the lives of others than in driving numbers. In her book, Lisa states the following:
Numbers measure results; numbers do not create results.
Metrics-driven leadership drives mediocrity because:
- Metrics do not create a compelling narrative, internally or externally
- Using the same benchmarks as everyone else will not create competitive differentiation
- Numbers measure performance; they do not create performance
Successful business owners who lead with purpose know: When you make a difference in the lives of your customers and coworkers, those desirable numbers will come.
Lisa is Not Simon
While writing here and privately for the Service Nation community, many of you know I am a huge supporter of Simon Sinek and his Start with WHY philosophy.
According to Simon, a business owner’s WHY; what is their cause, what is their belief, what is their purpose, originates early in our lives. Our WHY is rooted in the limbic portion of our brain, which has the capacity for feelings, but not language.
Consequently, the journey for many business owners to discover and express their WHY is a long and hard road. Those who are successful and who rally and inspire their coworkers around it set their companies apart from the competition. They provide an opportunity for their team to exercise their values and beliefs while making a difference in their customer’s lives. Coworkers enjoy the freedom to be who they are and find less need to wear a social mask.
But What if You Can’t Pin Down Your WHY?
Lisa says to lead with a Noble Sales Purpose. An NSP is a short, compelling statement that answers these questions:
- How do you make a difference to your customers? This defines your value to the customer.
- How do you do it differently from your competition? This establishes clear points of competitive differentiation.
- On your best day, what do you love about your job? This provides inspiration for emotional engagement.
Lisa’s methodology does not compete with Simon’s. Let’s say a business owner is not able to articulate their WHY. But they do have a fierce desire to serve customers without being known around town as a rip-off artist. By leading with an NSP, it shows the owner how to operationalize that desire and aspiration.
If Basement Guys Can Do it, So Can You!
Foundation Supportworks is a successful Nebraska-based, family-owned business that exemplifies the NSP. This organization took the owners personal values and beliefs, which are customer service, hard work, honesty, and kindness and then scaled it company-wide.
Lisa: “The true test of your culture is not your products, your website, or your office. The true test of your culture is the employee experience.”
Based on their values and beliefs, Foundation Supportworks builds a culture where employees buy in and thrive.
Critical Components of their leadership:
- Devoted leadership
- Operationalize their values
- Give very personal recognition
- Complete transparency
As a side note, Greg Thrasher, the owner of Foundation Supportworks, learned about leadership from books. Greg read and then he implemented what he learned.
As someone with a front row seat to Go Time Success Group CEO Chris Hunter’s accelerated business success, I can tell you that is exactly what he did and still does. If you know Chris (and even if you don’t), read John Maxwell’s Leadership Gold. You’ll be both amazed and inspired by the transition Chris made from text to action!
Leading with Noble Purpose is an inspirational guideline to actually help put your WHY, your purpose into play. Often times, we read books that provide implementation guidelines that seemingly require a Harvard Ph.D. to understand and follow. Lisa’s book is readable and doable, especially if you have the slightest inkling of instilling purpose into your business.
Don’t focus on the numbers. Focus on your purpose. The numbers will follow.
“How was your day, honey?”
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