How to Define, Live and Benefit From Your Company’s Purpose
By DeWayne Ables
Most AEC companies are so busy obtaining and completing projects that they forget they exist to serve a need. Design and construction companies have a considerable effect on their communities — they literally build their surrounding schools, office parks, shopping centers, doctor’s offices, roads and places of worship.
Countless AEC companies were founded by passionate leaders with a mission statement of sorts. After many years, leadership changes and market shifts, those same companies inevitably lose that sense of purpose. But that purpose — the driving force that goes beyond winning bids or building projects for clients — is what gives your organization an identity, backbone and direction.
Making a Purpose More Than Words
One of the executives I work with has an amazing ability to enter the office every morning and quickly focus everyone else on the big picture. He’s not a taskmaster by any means. Instead, he helps his team focus on serving the needs of its clients. He does everything he can to carry out that purpose.
Clarifying your company’s purpose is more than merely writing a statement and posting it on your company’s “About Us” page. Define what your company should achieve, outlining a clear road map to get you there. The need you exist to serve should inspire the answer to the question: “Why should you or anyone else choose to work here?”
Leaders must be able to communicate and embody the company’s purpose while ensuring that the right processes, systems, teams and tools are put in place to serve it.
Don’t just assume you’re making progress — prove it and celebrate it. When projects actively serve the need of your client’s community, let the world know. Make a video and post it online. Do whatever you can to recognize the impact your team has on the community. This puts a human face to projects and makes goals feel worthwhile.
Reach the Next Level
In the high-stress, high-stakes world of design and construction, it can be easy to dismiss the value of your purpose. Don’t make that mistake. When your company has a clear purpose, it leads to several benefits:
- Recruiting: Companies with purpose understand why people chose to work for them instead of the competition. That knowledge makes it easier to recruit top talent.
- Retention: People want to work for companies that reflect their personal goals and values. Purpose-based companies typically enjoy a more loyal workforce.
- Results: Focused companies can achieve bigger goals in less time with minimal uncertainty.
- Responsibility: Having a vision makes everyone responsible for the fate of the business. They show up ready to innovate and work toward a greater purpose.
- Revenue: When your teams are fired up and working toward a common goal, you’ll attract and retain clients.
Take pride in your company’s purpose. Craft it carefully, broadcast it widely and live it daily. It will become about something much more than your day-to-day motto. Your bottom line will thank you.
DeWayne Ables is the founder and president of Pioneer IQ, a company focused on equipping leaders to inspire people, build their businesses and impact their communities. The Pioneer Method focuses specifically on leaders in the architectural, engineering and construction industries. With more than 20 years of experience, DeWayne has helped leaders uncover, understand and live out their purpose.