Monday, August 24, 2015

Organizations with a Purpose

Organizations with a purpose are more likely to succeed than those who don't. When organizations think beyond their current position they can aspire to higher forms of performance and attract top talent that ensures their goals are met. When organizations become a collection of process and procedures without a higher order function they begin to decline in performance and relevance.

Successful organizations should have a purpose that draws people to a shared vision.  A purpose should be "brief, clear, and realistic, and it also should convey a representative picture of the future while enabling and appealing to employees, customers, and the broader community
Schultz, 2014)." The purpose becomes the overriding goal that people can believe in. 

Example 1: The purpose of a recycling center may be to create a greener community. They way the do this is by getting the community involved in recycling, putting out bins, and incentivising returns. The center's daily operations are designed to support its purpose. If its purpose was to only make money it would lose stakeholder support. 

Example 2: The purpose of the Justice Department is to create a safer community through the accurate dispensing of justice. The process of arresting, trying, and convicting offenders is only one of the many functions that can help in achieving its purpose. If the operations begin to be more important than its purpose, it will lose community support. 

The purpose gives the organization something to strive toward. This greater vision helps to ensure that its daily operations align with a better future outcome. The purpose guides daily decision-making and helps to chart strategic plans to achieve its purpose.

When policies & procedures become the main purpose the organization is doomed to eventual failure. Daily operations are its most important function and reconfirm itself creating a closed system that will become more irrelevant each year. People within the organization have no vision and begin to cannibalize the system.

 In the first example the manager of a recycling center may use the size of his paycheck and the size of his department as a reference of performance while in the second example an officer might look at the amount of arrests made as a metric of performance. The functions supersede its vision and become more of a resource for personal gain than fulfillment of a greater cause.

Successful organizations have a purpose that makes its way into a clearly articulated vision that people can follow and believe in. Stakeholder  vision is stronger as interested parties support the overall purpose of the organization and encourage ever improving operations to achieve that purpose. Employees can take pride in the work they do and maintain their motivation beyond the monetary benefits they may gain.

Schultz, J. (2014). Framing the Organization’s Purpose with Its Ultimate Goals in Mind. Global Business & Organizational Excellence, 33 (3).

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