Do you drive purpose, profit or both?
Business is all about the bottom line usually….profit. As business owners we mull over Profit and Loss statements with a fine tooth comb looking for where we can cut costs, improve productivity and increase profit. But; in order to increase productivity and cut costs we should know what motivates our people, or us for that matter.
Is you business all about profit, or is it about purpose? I would like to think that its about both. Obviously you are in business to make a living, not to go broke. So yes, a bottom like profit is very important. But what about the purpose? Do you have a purpose? Lets talk Google. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me about the internet you would know that I find Google to be one of the most facinating business’ around. For a multitude of reasons, but one in particular.
Google gives their engineers what they call “20 percent time”. 20% time is where Google allows its employees to take 20% of their week and work on anything they want. Guess what, this is where the most productive and forward thinking ideas and systems in Google come from. From the “free time”. So when you think of purpose, stand in Googles shoes. They make sure that the necessary things to function are taken care of in 80% of their employees time, but the rest, that golden 20% is where the magic happens. It is what gives their employees purpose.
In Seth Godin’s latest book, Linchpin; he references a study by author Richard Florida. Florida’s study was over 20,000 professionals giving them 38 factors that motivated them to be their best at work. Naturally, your thinking that salary, or financial gain is #1. That for more money, people would be more productive. If that was your though, you would be wrong. There is no doubt that money is a motivator, but it only ranked #4.
- Challenge and responsibility
- A stable work environment
- Professional development
- Peer recognition
- Stimulating colleagues and bosses
- Exciting job content
- Organizational culture
- Location and community
I am greatly intrigues by #1 and #5. This shows that talented people stive for a challenge; and best of all, they want to get better at what they do. When we look at people who are nurtured in the way that motivates them, they are more productive. If they are more productive, then they will grow the bottom line. They will care, because it has become part of them.
If we give our people purpose, they will help us grow profit. If we give our people a salary and treat them like a drone, they will give us headaches and work just hard enough to not get fired.