The Purpose-Driven Shared Services Center

Posted: 07/09/2012

What really drives a company? The obvious answer might be "profit." Why do you think corporations and employees are no longer satisfied with business as it is today? The obvious answer might the same: the pursuit of profit. But what of the "value added" agenda, as posed by Dan Foley [see Shared Services News, March 2008]?

What is the game we are playing in business today? Is it the endless pursuit of money, power, profit, results, and possessions? What does it mean to be on the path to achieving something that is not truly in alignment with our hearts, our passion and our purpose? The end results of such pursuits might include: tiring display of endless energy, high stress, employee burnout, and a day-to-day existence lacking in passion, meaning and happiness.

This may sound a bit touchy feely for some! Shape the mindset and put people before process and profit and you will achieve a different outcome – the one you are looking for! Don’t you agree? Are you ready to take this journey?

Start with your team and add value to their lives/working environment by adopting the slogans, "People before Profit", or "Shape the Mind Set". In other words: let them create the environment they wish to work in (see Figure 1: Team members create the culture: theory Y management style – "leadership" as opposed to the outdated practice of managing).

Our incoming workforce is no longer focused on money as the sole motivator, but rather our new age workers want to contribute in a way that truly inspires them. Our new workforce wants to be "on fire" and "passionate" about what we do and how we make a difference in the world. Doesn’t it make sense that you would want your children to live and work doing things they absolutely loved?

Theory Y Leadership Excites, Develops and Retains Exceptional Talent

What is your own management and leadership style? What kind of communication/language do you use on a daily basis? You will be aware of Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y belief options. Which one are you following? Is it working for you?

The acclaimed American social psychologist Douglas McGregor maintained that there are two fundamental approaches to managing people. Many managers tend towards Theory X, and generally get poor results. Enlightened managers use Theory Y, which produces better performance and results, and allows people to grow and develop.

It is management’s responsibility to recognize and develop employees’ talents, and enable them to participate in achieving organizational objectives through the achieving their own goals/outcomes.
Controls and the threat of punishment are not the only ways to direct efforts toward organizational objectives. Human beings will exercise self-direction and self-control in the service of objectives to which they are (self) committed. Let the team set the culture.

This is the new era of a purpose-driven business world. Successful companies of the future will be finding new solutions that relate to our human concerns and considerations. Exceptional leadership will include words like, gratitude, loving leadership, acceptance, good morning, thank you and intuitive vision and wisdom. All this can be achieved when the team sets the agenda/culture and management drop the ego and become leaders.

If the above paragraph is a bit "in your face" and you are feeling slightly uncomfortable, this is a good sign, as a shift in your consciousness is occurring. Enjoy the discomfort!

A new way of thinking is required to meet the needs of the 21st-century team member, which will create more purpose, meaning and connection in their business experience each day. Stop and look around you! What would you need to do today to create an atmosphere of appreciation and gratitude in your work environment? What would that unleash in your work, not to mention your personal life? What would you need to do to foster a learning environment where people grow and aspire to new levels each day? Imagine, team members on a Sunday evening excited about coming to work, knowing their input is valued, listened to and actioned.

Our lives become very powerful when we operate from a sense of true purpose. On purpose, we naturally work on task, naturally want to acquire more knowledge, naturally want to excel and be the best we can be. But it all takes a solid foundation of purpose, along with shared values and vision. Without it, we are just patching up old problems and behavior styles, hoping for the best!

What would it take for you to turn around your organization, team, company, and yourself, today? What would you need to create, as structures in your workplace, that will support people being on purpose, so that work has special meaning and connection? Remember, as a child, when time stopped while you devoted your attention to hobbies you enjoyed? That’s what corporations need to offer us today.

To generate enthusiasm about the way ahead, start asking some of these questions:

  1. How did I create where we are today? How can we create connection, with shared values, vision and a higher purpose for the team?
  2. What structures do I need to create the place I want to work – a place of personal expression and purpose?
  3. When we look back on our working career, we want it to be meaningful. What do I need to do to ensure that?
  4. How can I develop the creativity, imagination, and vision within myself and my team to align us all with our purpose?
  5. How can I foster, courage, persistence, and passion in pursuit of the outcome and meet organizational objectives?

So do we really think that you have to compromise profit and results to create a purpose-driven company? Or do you create profit by creating purpose? I believe the latter will overcome a "fear based" (Theory X management style) approach to business – an outdated model that no longer serves us. It’s up to us to get creative with the solutions we provide for our teams. When we allow our teams to set the behaviors, capabilities, values, beliefs, vision, identity, and purpose – the potential is enormous.

  1. Mission/Purpose: Refers to the larger system of which you are part. Successful organizations focus on the bigger system. Purpose with a shared vision and values is the foundation of ownership. This is normally held way beyond the self conscious.
  2. Identity: How to think of yourself as a person or how a company defines the identity of its business or the unique value of its business.
  3. Vision: Imagining the view of an outcome through the window of your future. It is grounded and expressed in the language of the physical world – the world of being, having and doing.
  4. Beliefs: Emotionally held views. Beliefs held by an individual or a company are only viable if supported by the behavior of that individual or the entire company workforce.
  5. Values: Criteria/qualities that you and the organization hold important and that form the basis for daily action. Agreed values can be a code of company practice if genuinely shared.
  6. Capabilities: The talents and skills of the individual and organization.
  7. The behaviours that you do well and consistently, without conscious effort.
  8. Behavior: What you actually say and do and consciously set in motion. Behavior refers to what you think about as well as your actions.
  9. Environment: Refers to what is outside you. It is about time, place and people, where you work, your customers, friends and partners. This is what we react to.
Posted: 07/09/2012


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