I’m going to start with a story about three masons “A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.” ”A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.” ”A third mason was hammering at his block diligently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!”
I know that the three men in the story all started out to achieve the same thing. They all had a sense of purpose. But that got forgotten about and people don’t often feel engaged or connected to their work.
But what if they all remembered what they had set out to do? What if we could hold up a mirror and show them what the man saw as he came across each of them?
This is a about more than just masons. It’s about politicians, employees, charities, CEO’s of massive global conglomerates….
Today I am talking about what could happen if businesses remembered that they weren’t just there to chip away at rocks and build walls, but that actually they’re there for a bigger purpose - To build magnificent cathedrals (to inspire people, to support communities and even, to save lives) I’m talking about a World where businesses want to look at the bigger picture, reconnect with their true purpose and deliver meaningful work.
Because otherwise, it manifests itself in other ways, like this…. This Page on Facebook shows brands telling their customers what they want to hear when it’s so clear that it’s a load of rubbish!
Simon Sinek (author of a book called ‘starting with why’) makes a case for businesses to start with why, and then aligning everything to it. But this is very unsual in the business world. Usually businessesknow what they do and how they do it, but not why. Those companies that start with why, and then go onto the how and what are really special.
Let’s take Apple as an example.
Apple is just a computer company. Yet they have such a loyal following. Even when things go wrong, customers actually start defending them.
Simon Sinek says this is because, unlike other computer companies, they think, act and communicate starting with Why. What they do and how they do it just then prove what they believe. Apple’s Why, their higher purpose, is to challenge the status quo, to think differently. The way they do this is to make products that are beautifully designed and user friendly. They just happen to make computers. This belief attracts a following that also believes in challenging the status quo and doing things differently. Their following is because people are connected to what Apple believes first, and to what they do second.
Looking at the evidence, it’s hard not to argue that companies starting with why also have a huge competitive advantage, especially right now.
This is a quote from a book called firms of endearment – outlining how world class companies profit from passion and purpose
It all goes back to the fact that, of course we want good deals but we also want more than that. It builds on something that goes back to a fundamental need within us all – the need to feel a deeper meaning, a deeper connection to things.
This is where authenticity comes into it. So being an authentic business means presenting who you really are through what you do.
And for companies with a real sense of purpose, this will be very easy. But for others, it’s a struggle.
Some companies like to copy what has worked for a company they admire - like copying Apple&apos;s aesthtic when designing their products.
Many companies will simply just tell customers what they want to hear – with the hope that people will trust them more if they say those things.
And that’s when problems occur.
It’s an example from KFC which Simon Sinek would call ‘purpose-washing’.
Obviously we all know KFC is full of sugar and salt, but here they are aligning themselves with JDRF. They’re not being authentic because what they’re doing here contradicts with their whole business model. This is just an act to reach out to customers and show that they care about this stuff – when it’s obvious they don’t.
But this isn’t unusual and whether it’s something this obvious or not, it happens all the time.
But wouldn’t it be awesome if these companies actually delivered on their purpose? And actually were truly authentic?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if businesses moved form this…
To actually having meaningful conversations with customers. One’s that really serve our need and built upon their own purpose.
Metrobank are a good example of this. They have based their entire business around outstanding customer service and their aim is to create fans not customers – and they’re certainly walking the walk – their entire services are based around the customers need and built for convenience.
I think their reviews speak for themselves – and it just goes to show – even a bank can get this right!
Customers are only getting smarter and they’re seeing through the bullshit.
A few interactions with a company will help reveal if they’re branding is simply saying what they think will appeal to us, rather than what they actually think.
And this is why I believe most businesses today need to take a step back from breaking the rocks infront of them and start remembering that they are actually building cathedrals. They need to reconnect to their purpose, their ‘why’, and start aligning their behaviours to it.
300 Seconds Brighton - Genuine Fake Watches by Caz Yetman
Companies with an
authentic purpose do
1025% better than the
-- Firms of Endearment
What you DO and SAY
What you actually BELIEVE
“Buy a HALF-GALLON of soda – with 800
calories from 56 SPOONFULS OF
SUGAR – for $2.99 and a buck goes to
juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation”
What if …
• Barclays: Helping people achieve their
ambitions – in the right way
• Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the
human spirit - One person, One cup, and
One Neighborhood at a time
• Nestlé: To achieve a profitable business as
well as balance the needs of the employees
and communities we share