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 65 Putting Customers First

The ultimate expression of our Purpose is to serve –ourselves, family, friends and customers/clients and the wider community. In business, serving customers is the lifeblood of the organisation and successful businesses, small or large, make customers their central focus and a part of their team.

Having a customer service policy and a set of procedures is essential and helpful. But behavioural strategies will not lead to long term sustainable business. An integrated model upon which all of your CS is built is needed.

In this blog, I offer for your consideration, a fully integrated customer service strategy for your organisation. One that will be the basis for exceeding expectations, developing long term relationships, ensuring your customers become advocates and referral partners and that you are “first call” in their hearts and minds.

The model builds from the bottom up. It is heirachical and developmental and even cyclic. (I acknowledge the influence and work of Kevin W. McCarthy and his book The On-Purpose Business for the basis of this idea).

CustomerServiceModel 400x164 Putting Customers First 

 

 

 Significance

Strong alignment comes when each team member knows that they are significant and that their contribution is meaningful to the Purpose of the organisation. They understand how and why they are making a difference and why and how they are serving customers. When the Purpose of the Individual is aligned to the Purpose of the business/organisation (PI<->PB) all customer service functions from a position of shared interests, outcomes and solutions. Poor customer service is a result of non-alignment of Purpose, poor planning, an inadequately trained team, inefficient and ineffective systems and a lack of clear criteria from which to measure organisational and customer service performance.

Strategy

Without a clear strategic plan and engagement of both internal and external customers to the plan, customer service will be ad hoc, situational and left to chance. Both staff and customers not only need to know why the business exists (Purpose), they also need to understand where the business is headed (Vision), how the Vision will be executed (Missions) and the “lived” values that will govern the behaviour and decision making in the business. Most often, the strategic planning is seen as the domain of the management team and any “sharing” of this is often top down without true engagement of the team. Everyone in the organisation, from the board room to the mail room needs to be engaged in the strategic direction of the business at some level. Ensure that you take time to communicate “what is going on” in the organisation. Importantly, every team member will need their own strategic plan including their professional and personal goals- all of which will be in alignment with the business.

Staff

Every organisation/business needs the right staff to implement the Purpose and the Strategy. For customer service to be effective, each staff member will need to know how their Purpose and Plan aligns with that of the organisation and with the customers they serve.

They will also have a mindset of ‘owning their own business’ within the business. Questions like “How is your business going?”or “What is happening is you business today?”will engender and encourage a sense of ownership, accountability and responsibility in each team member. In this way, each staff member will have a sense of high belonging and the potential for making a significant contribution to the job. Such engagement will result in high Mojo and high Mastery as they seek to add value to the both internal and external stakeholders.

At the end of the day, the staff are the major drivers of profit. Happy people make happy staff, make happy teams make happy customers, (make happy shareholders). Loyal and committed employees increase productivity and customer service performance.

Systems

Without effective and efficient customer service systems (processes and procedures) the positive impact of alignment of Purpose, engaging staff in the strategic direction of the business and having high peforming teams, will be lost. Effective systems help the organisation /business function by ensuring that work is done effeciently and effectively.

This will include customer service systems and processes. When was the last time you reviewed your customer service policy and procedures? Does each member of the team have clearly written down steps and do they know the standards by which quality CS is judged?

How have you addressed CS in your induction of new staff? What systems do you currently have that are working well and not working well? What needs to be changed or dropped? What new CS systems do you need to put in place where your business will be “first call” in the mind of your customers.

Success

The previous four levels of Significance, Strategy, Staff and Systems position and support the business/organisation for success. This is the level where performance is measured and all direct customer contact takes place. Success is not measured by a singular KPI. (Other criteria will include Financials; CS; Staff morale; Quality of products and services; Market share; and Ability to compete with competitors).

When customers are being served and satisfied in alignment with the organisational Purpose, success is attributable to the ground work laid by the previous four levels. Poor customer service can be tracked back through each of the proceeding levels in the CS Strategy.

To what extent do all team members know what the needs and wants are of the customers they serve? How well do they understand how the products and services offered by the business meets their customers’ needs? Are the words customers used to describe the products and services offered in alignment with how the business wants to position itself in the minds of customers? As an organisation, are you clear about where to invest your resources for long term performance improvement? And finally, how well are all your staff trained (not just sales and marketing staff) to sell your products and services to ensure that you gain and maintain your customers/clients?

Customers

I will conclude by referring to my opening statement. The ultimate reason for any service model and HR strategy is to enhance service to customers/clients. Many organisations and the people within them become so focussed on the day-to-day operations that they forget this. All previous levels of the Purpose Centred Customer Service Model build to create the success and performance that serves customers. That means all staff will have a clear knowledge of their customers, a vision for who their future customers could be, knowledge of how their service benefits customers and a clear understanding of why customers do business with the business. Do you need to give more focus to your CS strategy?

© Dr Edward Gifford, November 2012

 64 Putting Magic back into Marriage (1)

 

Central to being On-Purpose is the living out of the Purpose Principle which brings meaning and purpose to relationships at home and at work.  This is about aligning the Purpose of the person with the Purpose of the organisation (Pp<->Po).  The organisation, of course, can be a home, a marriage, a business, a government department, a country and so on. Central to this alignment is significance and belonging.  Where people feel their contribution is not meaningful and they don’t feel valued and part of a team, then this alignment is missing.  This means that people, by definition, are Off-Purpose in that environment and relationship.

 

In this blog, I want to suggest ways of strengthening this alignment in marriages and partnerships.  Nearly half our first marriages are failing (43%) and this figure rises (67%) in second marriages.  Clearly, the Purpose Principle is not evident in these statistics.  The high cost of divorce and relationship breakdown is seen not only in the break-up of the family but has ripple effects financially, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  It’s a national disaster as it touches nearly all of us personally at some stage and in some way.  Just as the discussion on global warming and its effects may be an “inconvenient truth”, so too are the effects of relationship breakdown equally “inconvenient.”  It’s time that this topic is elevated to the sustainability debate also.  

 

If you find that your marriage or partnership is not as strong as you would like, or if you would like to restore romance back into your marriage, you may wish to consider some of the following strategies as ways to make your relationship more On-Purpose. You do not need to make huge changes to see encouraging results. 

 

Strengthening Significance

 

  1. Marvellous Memories

Remembering the past good times is a great first step.  Wind back the DVD of your early times together.  Walk down memory lane together. Talk to your partner about how you first met, your first restaurant meal together, a special place, your first movie together, where you have been, where you have come from, what you have experienced together.  Sharing those significant and meaningful past experiences and history is powerful and bonding. So make a date and reminisce.  Bring out the old photo albums and videos and remember the height of love from which you may have ‘fallen’.  Some of you may believe the height of the fall to be so great that it would be impossible to climb all the way back. Not true!  Many people have in fact climbed back and made a success of their relationship and in fact are more able to love now than they ever were.  Memories also assist couples to weigh up the gravity of their decision to divorce.

 

  1. Three Things Today

For years now my wife and I have practiced reflecting on positive things which happen each day.  At night around the dinner table or before retiring, we ask each other “What are three positive things that have happened today?”  (It’s interesting that the benefits of this activity have been supported by the positive psychology work of Dr Martin Seligman).  Include your children in this too if you have any.  No matter how insignificant you think things are, speak about them to each other.  You will be amazed at how this will strengthen your relationship. Allow time for discussing “not so good things” too as children in particular need to commence building psychological flexibility and resilience from a young age.

 

  1. ‘Playtime’ with your partner

Everyone is busy including you and your partner.  There are always dozens of things to be done on top of work.  If you fail to invest time into your relationship ‘account’, it will become bankrupt.  You cannot afford to neglect investing time with your partner.  Try some of these ideas.  Spend an hour together each night before retiring, have a weekly date, catch a movie, curl up together on the same sofa, go for a walk, cook a meal together, go ice skating, have a coffee or do something new together or something unexpected.  Creatively ‘waste’ time together. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Take pleasure in the moment, and enjoy the “now” and have some fun together. Such activities are important in developing significance in your relationship.

 

  1. ‘Real’ relationships

Significant relationships are transparent and open.  So often we think that if we can change the behaviour of our partner we will be happy.  Take your focus off the ‘sins’ of your partner and start looking at your contribution to the success of the relationship. Take ownership, be responsible and accountable for your own feelings, attitudes and behaviours, not your partner’s.  Keep your ego in check and say sorry when you ‘muck up.’  Marriage is not about being ‘happy ever after.’ Dynamic marriages are made up of two growing people.  A relationship is only as good as the two individuals make it.  When we see the flaws and weaknesses in our own behaviour, (not our partners) we are in a stronger position to love, be honest, extend grace, communicate, solve problems and resolve conflict.

The big love ‘breakers’ in marriage are angry outbursts, disrespectful judgements, annoying behaviour, selfish demands, dishonesty, domineering spirit of control, unfaithfulness, abuse, desertion, and passivity.  Your role is not to find these faults in your partner and to apportion blame but to see if you exhibit any of these yourself.

So, in essence, the greatest thing we can do to develop a significant relationship is to take a good look at ourselves, face the reality of our own failures, begin to grow and solve problems and learn to practise unconditional love.  When things aren’t going well, we need to look in the mirror for the source of the problem.

 

  1. Personalising Purpose

In our Life Planning Programs we work with our clients to develop their own Purpose Statements.  This includes developing their Purpose and aligning their Vision, Missions and Values to their life Purpose.  We do this at the macro level and also for each of the seven life accounts – Family, Finance, Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical/Health, Social and Vocational.    Have you done that for your own life?  Have you worked through this together and shared your Purpose, Visions, Missions and Values with your partner?  This is powerful and gives a level of meaning and significance that you may never have experienced before.

 

 

© Dr Edward Gifford, Nov 2012

 

 

Superhero 2 The Energy Quadrant   Where Mojo and Mastery Meet

I regularly catch the train from Coomera to Brisbane. It’s about a 55 minute trip and useful “thinking” time.  This week I was reflecting on Daniel Pink’s great TED talk on what motivates and engages people at work. It’s been a while since I reviewed this but Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose were three key factors.

If Mastery has an impact on Mojo, what are the psychological and behavioural implications of this in the workplace and with careers? I like developing models and after a bit of ‘doodling’, I came up with the following.  I have called it the M2 Energy Model. 

 TheM2EnergyModel 361x400 The Energy Quadrant   Where Mojo and Mastery Meet

Quadrant 1 – Mastery: I see so many people in this quadrant.  They usually are highly experienced, have high skill level but have lost their mojo. Many are tired, they are often bored and lack self-motivation.  Their energy is gone. They are no longer engaged in their work.

Maybe you have been in the one position or business for too long, or you are managing people like this. If you are or you have staff in this quadrant there are serious implications for management, careers and job satisfaction.  The cost to you, your team and the organisation is high.

Quadrant 2 – Meaninglessness:Where there is low mastery and low mojo there is a serious problem. I was in this quadrant once, not because I was useless but because it was the wrong job fit for me.  It was the most off-purpose time of my working life.  I was trapped, hugely troubled, very stressed and wondered if I could ever survive the trauma.  I did by gaining a position in my preferred career (and with an employer of choice and location of choice).

If you are in this position or you have staff in this quadrant, the personal and professional cost is enormous. Up-skilling, retraining, moving into a role that aligns with your skill set or just being made redundant are some options. There is no room for complacency here. Massive and immediate action is required.

Quadrant 3 – Mojo:You are such a great prospect when you have the right attitude, are self-motivated, enthusiastic and have high mojo.  For many recruiters and employers, this factor is often the one first sought.  It’s easier to teach mastery than to instil mojo. 

Many small business owners start their businesses from this quadrant.  They are full of excitement, passion and are often very skilful at what they do but are totally unskilled in running a small business. Despite the high mojo, there is tentativeness here. 

For the small business owner, a mentor or coach is vital.  If you are a manager and have people in this quadrant, don’t be fooled by their enthusiasm and natural desire to excel.  They may be stressed because they lack the technical expertise to do the work.  They need coaching and training and careful management through this start-up period.

Quadrant 4 – Mastery and Mojo:When mastery and mojo meet we are engaged in meaningful work.  We are on-purpose! We just love what we are doing and are great at it. We have a high sense of contribution and invest a lot of time and energy into our work.

If you are in this quadrant then that is fantastic.  But be warned!  You are a prime candidate for burnout. More than anyone else, you need to work on your life plan and ensure your business or career fits this.  Work-life integration is essential. 

If you are managing people who are in this quadrant, your responsibility is huge.  So many top performers leave their organisation because of burn out or being taken for granted.  Managers often ignore this group because they are doing the job so well – everything is ‘rosy’!  While they are highly engaged, they still need ‘a sense of belonging’ and want to be told they are valued and appreciated.  Ongoing training, extension, new challenges and goals are very important to this group.  Like all highly effective people, they need a coach to extend them, hold them accountable, be a sounding board and be their ‘cheer leader’.

Take time to look at this model and to review where you and your individual team members are at.  It will have profound implications for your energy levels, your job satisfaction and your general well-being. 

If you are managing staff or teams, this will also be an important diagnostic, evaluative and generative model for you to improve the purpose, productivity and performance of your people.


Click here to get assistance with your Life Plan

Click here to get assistance with your Career Plan

Click here to get assistance with managing and engaging your team

© Dr Edward Gifford, On-Purpose Partners Pty Ltd, September 2012

 

 

BusinessPlan 272x400 7 Compelling Reasons Why You Must Have a Business Plan

Most of us are familiar with the very high failure rate of small businesses.  It’s scary and sobering.  It’s also preventable.

 

Some of the reasons often given for failure include lack of ‘experience’, ‘capital’, ‘planning’, ‘a risk management strategy and contingency plan’, ‘vision’, ‘personal and fiscal discipline’, ‘cash flow’, ‘personal and professional networks’ (Your network is your net worth), ‘a clearly defined niche market’ and ‘life plan’ (knowing what you want for your life and building your business around it).

 

Other reasons include poor ‘financial management’, ‘operations’, ‘systems’, ‘customer service’, ‘maths’ (not enough demand for your product or service at the price), ‘management’ and ‘leadership’.  Unfortunately some fail for less controllable reasons including declining or obsolete markets and out of control growth.

 

Many of you have heard me speak about the importance of three things to ensure your business is successful – a map, method and mentor.

 

Can you imagine how successful a wedding day, an overseas trip or building a new home would be without a plan?  We all spend time planning events like these to ensure a successful outcome.  Why is it that so many small business owners (or career professionals) embark in business and work without a plan?

 

In the past two years I have assisted some 200 small business owners develop their business and strategic plans. They realised that their business would flounder or was “at risk” without a clear business and strategic growth plan. They have taken the first and essential step in ensuring business success.

 

So why is a “map” so important?

 

In this article I want to briefly explore 7 reasons why having a ‘map’ (a business and strategic plan) is the first step to ensure business success – Context, Content, Clarity, Confidence and Certainty, Checkpoints and Confirmation, Currency and Continuity, Conversations and  Compass.  Read on and “C”. 

 

Context and Content

 

Many business owners are so busy in the day to day operations of their business (content) that they have forgotten why they are in business, where they are headed (Context) and the key strategic goals needed to grow their business.

Field 7 Compelling Reasons Why You Must Have a Business Plan Grass 7 Compelling Reasons Why You Must Have a Business Plan

 

This is clearly illustrated in the two photos above.  The picture on the left is of different coloured rice plants grown near a village in Japan. It’s a rather unremarkable photo. It does not have context or perspective.  It’s random, busy and lacks clear direction and clarity. That’s what happens when we operate our life and business without a plan.  We are reactive and focus on whatever is demanding our attention at the moment.

 

‘We can’t see the wood from the trees’ as the old saying goes.  We are so busy working in the ‘content’ of our business we have not taken the time to plan.  (You know the hackneyed sayings don’t you? ‘Prior preparation prevents p_ _s poor performance!’ Or ‘If you fail to plan you plan to fail!’)

 

The photo on the right is the landscape created out of those different coloured rice plants.  There is a clear purpose and vision here.  The result is beautiful and productive. It attracts huge amounts of business (tourists). You get the ‘picture’.  Do you have this kind of perspective for your business?

 

Clarity

 

When I ask for feedback from my workshops and coaching participants, nearly 100% report that developing their business plan has given them clarity.  They know why they are in business, how this aligns with their Purpose, they have a clear vision of where they are headed and know how and where their growth is coming from.  They have clear SMART goals and actions steps to achieve these. Our thoughts and ideas are great but they are also random, numerous and often confusing. Getting them out of our heads and on paper gives clarity and focus.

 

Confidence and Certainty

 

I don’t know about you but I really find it helpful to look at a map before going someplace new.  I need to see the big picture (the context) as well as the detail of how to get there (content).  Now I know some of you don’t care about that because you use a GPS, but even this gives the overall direction as well as the detail.  Like travelling, having a ‘business map’ and knowing where you are going gives you confidence and certainty.  That means less stress and greater peace of mind. It also saves a lot of time by not getting ‘lost’!

 

Checkpoints and Confirmation

 

Like a map, a business plan has check points or key markers along the way to where you are headed.  You need weekly, monthly or yearly ‘check points’ in terms of your staffing, marketing, operational and financial goals.  Seeing where you are headed and passing the clearly signed check points ‘is a powerful motivator and confidence booster, knowing that you are ‘on – track’.

 

Currency and Continuity

 

I hear so many people remark that business plans are a big waste of time because once written for a particular reason (usually to raise finance for an idea or interest) they get left on the shelf or in the filing cabinet, never to be looked at again. 

 

Your business plan needs to be current and provide you with continuity. It also needs continual and constant reviewing and revising.  It should be central to your weekly, monthly and yearly planning.  If you are using this to build your business, Version 1 will become V4 (at least) by the end of 12 months. So be proactive and keep your business plan current. Doing this it will ‘force’ you to take time out to work on your business.

 

Conversations

 

No matter how small your team, your business plan should be central to your business conversations.  Aligning teams to the Purpose, Vision, Missions and Values of the business is essential. Conversations around strategic goals, people performance, operational goals, customer satisfaction arise from the strategic plan, not just on an ad hoc reactive basis. If you are a solopreneur, then use your plan in mastermind groups and with your business mentor or coach.

 

Compass

 

Think of your business plan as your business compass – it gives you and your business ‘true north’ and keeps you moving in the right direction – with confidence, focus and clarity. Many distractions will come your way and you will be tempted to move in different directions as you get nudged and pulled off course.  Inevitably your spirit and mojo will be low on occasions too.  When this happens go back to your plan and like a compass it will point you in the right direction. Knowing you are on track and passing your milestones is tremendously encouraging and keeps you on-purpose!

 

 

 

Click here to get assistance with your Business Plan

September Workshop: Coolangatta

October Workshop: Hamilton

 

Click here to get assistance with your Life Plan

 

Click here to get assistance with your Career Plan

 

 

 

© Dr Edward Gifford, On-Purpose Partners Pty Ltd, September 2012

 

 

 

 

Fuelling Context or Content   Are you fuelling your Vision?

Where there is no vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)

This is probably one of the oldest and most widely used quotes when discussing vision. Like me, most people take it out of context.  But it is a strong reminder for business owners and leaders that without a well formed, fuelled and focused vision, our business will not flourish. Businesses and organisations die when they lose or abuse their vision.

 

In the past two years I have worked with over 200 small business owners spending approximately 20 hours with each of them.  This has predominantly been with the Queensland Government subsidised Planning for Success workshop and mentoring Program.

 

In our first workshop, I spend considerable time exploring the difference between the ‘context’ and ‘content’ of running a small business and in developing a strategic growth plan.

 

Most business owners are so engrossed in the ‘content’ of running the day to day operations of their business; they forget the big questions – or the ‘context’ of their business.  Most have never seriously or formally considered answering such questions as Why does my business exist? (Purpose), Where am I headed? (Vision), How am I going to get there? (Missions) and What are the principles and values that underpin and integrate my business?

 

Dare I repeat the now hackneyed phrase – most business owners are so bound up working in their business (content) that they don’t take sufficient time out to work strategically on their business (context)? 

 

Vision is your picture of the future.  It encompasses your dreams and possibilities.  It offers inspiration and hope to your business or organisation, to you and to others.  It is both internal and external.  First you see it in your mind’s “eye” and then you bring it to reality.  As Peter Drucker says, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

 

PurposeVision Context or Content   Are you fuelling your Vision?

In your organisation a vision may be a high level, inspirational, encompassing point of view that motivates and attracts others to this path.  Or it may be a picture on the wall, a graphic, a dream board or a single word or phrase. (I know of an IT company whose vision was “Business in a Button” or a Shop Fitting Business who simply had their vision as Creating Theatre).

 

In a recent workshop with a small group of 8 business owners I gave them all a large flip chart and a packet of coloured pens.  The aim was to capture graphically and in writing a picture of the future of their business.

 

After I clearly distinguished the difference between the meaning of Purpose, Vision, Missions and Values they began to think creatively outside of the usual square as they developed their vision. 

 

The main criterion was that it had to be inspiring.  They had to get excited.  This was not a goal setting exercise.  It had to really capture their hearts’ desires and those secret thoughts and dreams.  

 

 

When was the last time you sat down and asked yourself: ‘Where is my business headed?’ What do I want my business to look like in 2 or 3 years’ time?

 

If you don’t know where to start, capture your thoughts on where your business in now and then how you want to see it in the future.

 

NowFuture 400x209 Context or Content   Are you fuelling your Vision?

 

 

If your current business were a movie, what name would you call it now?  And what title will you give to the movie of your business when you have fulfilled your vision?

 

Or to get you going you might like to consider the following:

  • Close your eyes, picture your organisation is 3-5 years from now. What do you see?
  • What is happening to inspire and align the people? (Think commercially and culturally)
  • Where is the energy flowing from? (Internal/External)
  • What sorts of people are involved? What’s the turnover?
  • How many staff? What sort of culture? What new products and services?
  • Where will you be located? What sort of building will you have if any?

 

Once you start, you will soon forget the prompts as you let your intuitive right brain take over. Dare to dream big.   Fill the page with anything that comes into your mind. This is a brain storming exercise.  Refinement comes later. 

 

At the end of the exercise with my business owners I invited each of them to share. They all did.  With my assistance they held up their large pieces of paper and ‘away they went’, finding it hard to stop.  They were excited, inspired, and “wide eyed and electrified” (just a test to see if you read the other article).

 

Most came back to the next workshop with refined statements, graphics, charts, wall hangings, posters and the like.  It was energizing and inspiring work!

 

So now it’s your turn. Take an hour a day, a day a week, a week a year to think strategically about the context of your business and where it is headed.  This will give you and your team confidence, clarity and a compass for the future.  If you have a team then every meeting should include discussions on how well your business is living out its Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values.  Feed your Vision daily and align it to your Purpose. It will inspire you and your team and rocket your business. 

 

© Dr Edward Gifford, On-Purpose Partners Pty Ltd, July 2012

 

 

 

WideEyed 393x400 Wide Eyed and Electrified   What does it mean to be On Purpose?

“Without purpose we would not exist…
It is purpose that created us…
Purpose that connects us…
Purpose that pulls us…

Purpose that guides us, that drives us, that defines us….

Purpose that binds us.”

  (Agent Smith from Matrix Reloaded)

Sometimes things stick fast in our memories. They just never seem to go away. One such moment was 15 years ago in my first Power of Your Purpose Workshop based on the book The On-Purpose Person by Kevin McCarthy.

By way of introduction to the workshop I asked the participants what they considered a person might look like, sound like and feel like when they were on-purpose.

I mapped the answers from participants on a Y chart. One I have never forgotten.  ‘John’ had no hesitation in sharing his thoughts!   “Wide eyed and electrified!” he exclaimed. 

There was spontaneous applause from the small group as his words resonated and echoed around the room.  This phrase has now become a bit of a “household” answer from some family members and close friends when asked how they are going. Yes, you guessed it!  ‘Wide eyed and electrified!’  

Of course, being on-purpose is more than this. Typically people use words such as fulfilled, energized, mojo, in the flow, focused, whole, meaningful, hope, purposeful, and significance to describe what being on-purpose means to them.

I have been using the term on-purpose and asking that question so often in workshops, training and coaching that it is easy for me to assume that everyone has a common understanding of the phrase.

When we are on-purpose our hearts, head, hands and feet, as well as our ‘gut’ and throat are in alignment. They are connected. These body parts represent our Purpose (Being), Vision (Seeing), Missions (Doing) and Values (Choosing) respectively.  Purpose comes from the heart, forms a vision in our head, takes action in our hands and feet all within the values that bind and connect these four aspects of our lives.

Also, as the figure below shows, when you are “on-purpose,” there is alignment between your purpose, vision, mission, and values. According to Kevin McCarthy, the author of The On-Purpose Person and The On-Purpose Business, on-purpose is sparked by purpose, inspired by vision, performed through missions, and governed by values. Your being, seeing, doing and choosing are all aligned and connected.

PurposeValuesVisionMission Wide Eyed and Electrified   What does it mean to be On Purpose?

When you are on-purpose in this kind of alignment, you will feel like you are in the ‘flow’ and one with your body, mind and spirit. You are engaged in meaningful work and you know why and how you are making a difference in the world.

When you are on-purpose you are ‘on track’.  Your purpose is like a homing beacon that keeps you focussed on the things that matter most in your life and business. It ensures you keep doing more of what you do best.  It prevents you from being distracted. It governs your thoughts, feelings attitudes and behaviour. Like a light house it keeps you from going astray.  It ensures that your core wants, goals and priorities are in alignment with your Purpose.  The decisions you make will be through the filter of your One Purpose.

From the above it is clear that being on-purpose means that we have clear direction in our life and that we live out our life intentionally – on-purpose.  We acknowledge that there will be occasions when we will be taken “off course” but with a clear focus, a clear sense of direction and purpose, we will keep returning to or being pulled back to the things that matter most in our lives.

Work-life balance is not something you seek when you are on-purpose.  You see your life more in terms of being integrated and holistic (Spiritual, Family, Financial, Vocational, Mental/Intellectual, Social and Physical/Health) rather than areas you try to balance by giving them equal importance.

People who are on-purpose will be proactive and make things happen, rather than live their lives reacting to events and circumstances.  Because they know their Top Priorities and Core Wants and have developed clear action plans to achieve these, they will have less stress and less clutter in their lives and be able to make confident decisions. They take ownership and responsibility for their lives.

By understanding that our Purpose is our spiritual DNA, we can accept that our two-word purpose statement ‘defines’ us in a special way.  Our parents gave us a biological name.  But once you discover your Purpose and give it a name  (as I outlined this in my previous Blog on The Power of Your Two Word Purpose Statement – e.g. Releasing Potential; Liberating Greatness; Igniting Enthusiasm (Mine); Celebrating Freedom; and Rejuvenating Spirit) you have in fact named your true “I”denity – your True Self.

So being on-purpose also means that you ‘Be’ your Purpose. Being on-purpose is an outward and visible expression of an inner calling on our life. In this way our Purpose defines our past, present and future. It is ‘been’, ‘being’ and ‘becoming’.

On-Purpose people understand the importance of building their lives from the “inside out”.  They know that without a strong spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual inner core, they will not achieve long term authentic success.

Finally, being On-Purpose is a journey, not a destination.  Those of us who embark on this process are On-Purpose people in creation.  We never completely arrive. It is an ongoing process of growth.  On-Purpose therefore, is about who we are “being” and “becoming”.

 © Dr Edward Gifford, On-Purpose Partners Pty Ltd, July 2012

 Goal Goals for Growth or Goals for Glory

The London Olympics are nearly here. “D” Day or Dream Day will soon be a reality for our competitors. I have watched many of the Aussie contenders interviewed and their passion, determination and commitment to their vision and goals have been both compelling and inspiring.  I have also seen the recent documentary on TV where numerous Aussie Olympic swimming heroes and medal winners had their lives fall apart after achieving their goals, consequently also losing fame and fortune. 

This has caused me to ponder about the nature of goal setting and whether we should be setting goals for “glory” or goals for “growth”. Are goals about “success” or “significance” and are these notions of goals mutually exclusive? In this article, I want to share with you a world first – On-Purpose® SMART Goals.  I formulated these some years ago but this is the first time I have shared them to the world on the web.

 

Traditional SMART Goals

In our On-Purpose® Personal Leadership Programs we coach our participants to set traditional SMART goals for their “Core Wants” for each of their life areas.  This includes spiritual, physical/health; intellectual and mental; family; vocational, social and financial. 

This is part of developing personal resilience, work/life integration as well as taking a proactive approach to “self-care”.

Don’t pull out on me just yet. 

This is not just another rehash on goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Goals that are set purely on the basis of logic and rationality may never be realised. History and experience show us that where people are passionate and committed, they are more likely to achieve their goal.  Witness our Olympic champions. For this reason, I like to extend the traditional idea off SMART goals to SMARTIE Goals.  The “I” is for Inspiration and the “E” for enthusiasm.  Your goals need to inspire you and you need to be really enthusiastic about them.  So as well as Logical SMART goals you need SMARTIE goals that come from the heart.

On-Purpose® SMART Goals

I have noticed in my coaching and facilitating, that there comes a time in the seasons of our lives where goals also need to involve our Purpose and valued direction. This led me to re-examine the traditional SMART Goal framework in order reflect this.  I have used this common acronym quite differently in the context of clients building onto traditional SMART goals and developing goals and priorities that are meaningful and in alignment with their Life (and Business) Purpose. They may run in parallel but with traditional SMART goals but I have a different intention for them. Here is my new take on On-Purpose ® Smart Goals.

 SMARTGoals 320x400 Goals for Growth or Goals for Glory

The two takes on SMART goals bring the title of this blog into focus.  What happened to those Aussie swimming champions whose goals were to achieve high performance and international fame and glory?  They reached the pinnacle of success yet their life fell apart shortly after.  (Of course there is more to this than goal setting.)

So should our goals focus on growth or glory, success or significance?

To answer this we need to understand that our lives typically play out in two halves.  Like most team sports, you can’t “play the second half before playing the first”.

Our “first half of life” is about success.  It is the journey of ascent.  It is natural to try and “conquer our Everest”. We want to test ourselves, see how far we can go in our chosen career or job, push ourselves to the next level and “be the best we can be” at what we have chosen to “do”. This is consistent with the Egoic Journey. During this first half of life many of us are powerfully motivated by power, prestige, position, high performance and material pleasures. So having goals for success and “glory” in this “half” of life is perfectly natural.

But something happens around “half – time”. We begin to sense something is still missing even though we should be feeling that we have made it. We begin to question the importance of what we are doing and begin to explore who we are being and becoming? Is the payoff worth the effort? Something inside us says we cannot keep doing what we do. Half time is a good place to go but not a good place to stay.

If the first half of life is about success, then the second half is about significance.It is in this transition phase of our lives – moving into the second half, that we need to refocus our goal setting to On-Purpose® SMART Goals. In other words, if the first half of life has to do with getting and gaining, learning and earning, the second half has to do with yearning.

Just as the first half of our lives is about ascent and success, it is normal for many to see their second half as a journey of “descent”.  We start looking inside of ourselves for meaning and purpose. We want our lives to count for something and we want to make a difference.  We are no longer content to exchange our lives for a pay check or do meaningless work. If this were not the case why would some 40% of our workforce be looking to “downshift” – to take less pay and have less power and prestige in favour of more meaningful work?

So next time you are setting traditional SMART Goals for your life or business, first give some thought to how you can make them more inspirational by thinking of them as SMARTIE goals.  Secondly, as you transition to “second half” I invite you to use my On-Purpose® SMART goals framework as your bench mark and plumb line to help give your goals meaning and Purpose. Finally, observe which half of life you are still “playing in”. Once you have this context you will be very clear about whether your goals are for growth or glory.

© Dr Edward Gifford, On-Purpose Partners Pty Ltd, June 2012

P.S. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away. (Henry David Thoreau)

 

Power of 2 Words The Power of Your Two Word Purpose Statement

Most of us know when we are off-purpose.  Our energy is drained, we regret the past, are unfocussed and unfulfilled in the present and anxious about the future. The personal and professional cost of being off-purpose is more costly than we can imagine. It costs us our peace of mind, rich and meaningful relationships, confidence, clarity and the deep satisfaction of experiencing life “now”.  It costs us money too!  A recent survey conducted by On-Purpose Partners (US) yielded the following results:

How much money do you think being off-purpose costs you or your business?

Catapult 2 400x265 The Power of Your Two Word Purpose Statement

The remaining 22% indicated that the cost was priceless and immeasurable (which was not a category)

 

Clearly people are recognising that without a clear Purpose, their financial capacity is significantly restricted.  Some 40% believe this cost is $1M or more!  Intuitively some 22% understand that you can’t put a price on not having a clear Purpose and living a life that is On-Purpose.  The cost is immeasurable.

So what is your On-Purpose Batting Average?  When I ask this of individuals and businesses the responses are revealing.  One organisation felt it was On-Purpose about 12% of each day and most of the others were well under 50%!  Imagine what that is doing, not just to the bottom line but to the ripple effect of non-engagement and limited job satisfaction.

Thanks to the inspiration and stimulus I have received from the On-Purpose Books by Kevin McCarthy, I have been working with this concept for some eighteen years now. Increasingly I understand the Power of my Purpose in my personal and business life. 

Those of you who have participated in my Power of Your Purpose one day workshop and coaching programs will have developed your two- word Purpose Statement.  I have also tried to bring this into all the Government run Business Workshop and Mentoring Programs I have been running with Small Business Solutions.

Having a two-word Purpose Statement is not a gimmick, a slogan or a word-smithing exercise. It is your:

  • Energy source,
  • Reason for being
  • Road map that inspires you and gives you confidence and clarity each moment of the day and your 
  • Spiritual DNA.

Here are examples of two word Purpose Statements that some of you have developed for yourselves and/or your business since we have been working together – Enriching Community; Creating Opportunity; Releasing Potential; Liberating Greatness; Igniting Enthusiasm (Mine); Celebrating Freedom; and Rejuvenating Spirit.

Notice that the first word ends in ING as Purpose is past, present and future. As a “doing” word it helps you to put your Purpose into action as you live it moment by moment throughout each day.  It is the outward manifestation of who you ‘be’. The second word is the object of your Purpose.  It is your focus and object of attention across all of your life accounts.  It is how you serve yourself, others and a higher Purpose.

You only have one Purpose–(I was; I am; I will).  Think of it like spiritual electricity. Like electricity it has always been there but for electricity to be of any use it had to be discovered and harnessed to produce power.  Your Purpose has been there from the beginning.  Some of you are unconsciously aware of it but how much more power it has when you discover it, consciously name it, harness it and align your life to it.  It impacts not just your work but all other areas of your Life – spiritual, physical, intellectual, mental, family, financial, and relationships.

I invite you to get in touch with that two word Purpose Statement you developed for yourself or with your organisation.  Notice the POWER it has:

Precision – It is precise, detailed and specific and your laser beam. It provides a context for the content of your life; it gives you your unique identity and precisely names your spiritual DNA.  It is who you “are” and “be” and are “becoming”. You can write it on a tee shirt, a business card or a gravestone! WOW!

Oneness – Not only do you have one Purpose but this One Purpose is shared by all (but in different words).  It connects and integrates us all at the deepest level.  In any organisation (family, business, club and so on) it brings people together, aligns them to a common purpose and gets everyone on the same page resulting in shared interests, shared solutions and shared outcomes. As individuals, it gives us one clear authentic reason for being! WOW!

Written –Like written goals, when you write your Purpose it brings the unconscious to consciousness.  You write it and “be” it. It’s your written constitution.  It’s not just a couple of fluffy words, which like clouds, drift around. There is something very powerful about writing these two words down and displaying them visually.  They name the ‘real’ you or the heart of your business (your true self and identity) not the family name which was given to you by your parents or your business name.  Your written Purpose becomes your map.  It is your homing beacon or your lighthouse – your “true north”.  It helps you to make sense of your life and business – your “been”, “being” and “becoming”. WOW!

Energy – When you are connected and aligned with your Heart and spiritual DNA and with the Oneness of the true life we all share, the energy is transformational.  Being On-Purpose and living with ONE Purpose you are energised, confident and have clarity and focus.  You live your life by design.  You make decisions, which are in alignment with your Purpose.  You tap into your talents, strengths and unique gifting. You say “yes” to your heart’s desires and “no” to the beat of others’ drums. Feel the energy when you are set free! WOW!

Relationships – Living in alignment with your Purpose transforms relationships.  You no longer focus on the conditioned and egoic self, which seeks separateness, protection and self-centred relationships. Purpose is by definition “good”.  It comes from a place of “Godness” and “Goodness”.  It seeks to have relationships with the Universe, others and self through a core motive of “Love” and not “Fear”.  When you respond to all relationships from your “being” (Your Purpose) you respond in love and seek relationships that focus on shared interest rather than self- interest; shared outcomes and shared solutions rather than separate outcomes and solutions.  Relationships at the Trans-personal (Self with higher power); Intra-personal (Self with self) and Inter-personal (Self with others) are transformed and enriched. WOW!

Are you ready to harness the Power of Your Purpose? How is your life and business going right now? Is your life filled yet unfulfilled?  Are you pulled in a thousand different directions which take you away from what is truly meaningful and important to you?  Are you saying yes to other people’s projects and activities while neglecting the things that matter most at your core? Are you in touch with your heart and your spiritual DNA?  Have you aligned your life to your Purpose or do you feel you are still living a “life of quiet desperation”, squandering your talents and living a life of regret?

Join the Purpose Revolution and be On-Purpose! Life will never be the same when you harness the power of your two word Purpose Statement and become On-Purpose!

Please follow the two links below for more information about the On-Purpose Personal and Business Leadership Coaching Programs.

Personal Leadership Coaching Program

Business Leadership Coaching Program

 

Dr Edward Gifford (Igniting Enthusiasm)

CEO – Chief Enthusiasm Officer

M: 0416 260 448

E: edward@onpurposepartners.com.au

 

© Dr Edward Gifford, On-Purpose Partners Pty Ltd, May 2012

The movie Saving Private Ryan portrayed with savage realism the D-Day Invasion and the awful brutality of war.  But it also introduced the younger generation to an amazing event that was the turning point of World War 2.  The mission was to extract Europe from the grip of Adolf Hitler. 

So how did they capture something as big as Europe?  Certainly not by dropping paratroopers in a number of different spots around the continent and saying, “Go get ‘em boys”.

 

D-Day was successful because they focused on getting tens of thousands of Allied soldiers to capture one small beachhead on the coast of France.  Sure, it was a long way from Berlin but it was this beachhead that was the start.  They moved from that victory to another small “beachhead”. 

 

From the beach, they took a farm,  from the farm, a bridge, then one village and another village and so on, until one day they marched into Berlin.  All that ground  was conquered – not in one blazing victory but one “beachhead” at a time.

 

“So what’s your point?” I hear you ask.

 

The point is that  business leaders and coaches can learn a lot from this story.   Individuals and organisations often experience their own private ‘wars’ as they ‘march’ to their mission or towards their goals.  I recently  witnessed an organisation that failed to use this strategy.  Its leaders tried to take five beachheads within the space of one year without securing their first “beach head” (Region, State, Australia, US and Asia). Marching on all fronts at once was a disaster.  Resources, both capital and human, were overstretched, the strategic plan was confused, the vision was lost in the confusion, communication broke down, decision making was reactive and not in alignment with the organisational Purpose or its stated values and morale was crushed. Casualties were enormous! The result you already know! Private Ryan was not saved and never could have been.

 

Securing one “beach head” at a time is an important leadership principle.  Sometimes leaders are tempted to go for the quick kill, trying to achieve their targets in record time by attacking on all fronts at once. It may work with unlimited firepower but this strategy of spreading and deploying forces too thinly is rarely successful.

 

The beachhead principle  is also useful in coaching. Once your clients’ goals have been clearly defined, options are considered and an action plan is developed with the client. In life coaching scenario, a client may present to you with  their life in disarray or off-purpose, as we would say.  Most of their life accounts may be overdrawn and indeed, some of them could be bankrupt!  Family relationships may be stretched to breaking point and financial stress could have become a  highly charged and emotional issue.  Physical, spiritual and mental health may have been put on the “back burner”, because vocational stress, caused by a  forced redundancy, is creating panic and is consuming all the energy available.  It is red alert time!

 

Tackling several  fronts at once may seem a tempting way to help get the client back on-purpose as quickly as possible.  However, the coach’s ability to help the client find the number one priority or strategy to make the maximum immediate impact, is going to be far more powerful long term.  If coaches know about the beach head principle, they can  help their clients focus their resources and energies to take one beachhead at a time.  The flow on effect is amazing.   Morale is improved as is self esteem. Ensuring  success in one battle gives the client confidence to move forward with purpose and intent.  

I believe that with this strategy we will be in a much stronger position to assist all those Private Ryans around the world who are tired of fighting their personal wars on many fronts. By encouraging them to take one beachhead at a time, they can enjoy the many small successes and gains along the way and celebrate the big victories.  

 

Living with and working with Angela (my wife of some 39 years) is fantastic.  Every morning we spend time together over a “cuppa” meditating, reflecting and reading something that will inspire us for the day. 

We are both professional coaches and have given each other permission to ask the tough questions. 

Today we came across a long forgotten childhood story about Samson – not the one where he pushes the great pillars of the temple down, but where his enemy had bound him and, on breaking free, Samson found a fresh jawbone of a donkey and killed a thousand men with it.

I was still half asleep when Angela read this but I woke up pretty quickly when she asked me what my “jaw bone” was.  Instinctively, I gave her a pathetic, inane male response.  “No”, she said, “We had our children long ago – that is not what I meant.”

She asked the question again but from a different angle.  “What have you been innately given  (your ‘jawbone’) that has helped you “win the day” when faced with your “enemies”?

Now I was awake!

Like a good coach she remained quiet while I pondered this question.  My first responses centred around my life Purpose of Igniting Enthusiasm and how I expressed love to others in this way. Still silence from the coach.

This was a significant moment.   I began to enter a space of greater self-awareness as I started to think about that one most  obvious, enduring, innate personal trait - my “personal life jawbone”. 

And then I had it – not a tentative, meek, maybe this is it, but a confident, all knowing awareness.  It was perseverance!

At this point, Angela shifted her role from coach to wife.  She began to recall all the times I persevered in the face of adversity, criticism, false accusation, self-doubt, life threatening  illness, financial struggles, relationship breakdowns and much more. 

 I tried to recall when I first became aware of this trait.  At six years of age, I had polio (not severe) and could not bear to stay in bed. I still hobbled around the farm and even milked the cows. Over three months off school was a challenge for an active boy.  Even now, I remember the excruciating pain of the slightest movement but I persevered.

Have you ever had a disastrous public performance? My first “Penny Concert” in primary school certainly was.  I really muffed my first piano solo around the age of 10.  It was a moment of sheer terror, shame and embarrassment when I froze and couldn’t play another note.  The next day we had to go to the Infants’ school and repeat the concert.  My teacher kindly asked if I wanted to play.  At home, I found a new piece, practised it for 4 or 5 hours, learned it off by heart and played it the next day without a mistake. Phew! My teacher said, ‘Well done”. Maybe then I learned the lesson of not giving up.

Then there were the times I attended the Convent after school for piano lessons.  By now I was taking music seriously and wanted to do it for my Junior.  We lived on a farm midway between two small towns. My transport home after the lesson was to hitch hike or walk – 12 km!  A heavy case, old shoes, and feeling tired from a full day at school made this quite a challenge.  It was difficult but I wanted music for my Junior Certificate.  I persevered even when I had to walk home in the rain, or in the cold, dark winter and when no one would stop to give me a lift.

I know what you are thinking.  Why didn’t your parents come and pick you up? Mum didn’t drive and farmers worked on the farm till dusk, didn’t they? But that’s another story! I passed my Junior music (and later my Leaving (Senior) with Distinction. I persevered through adverse circumstances and often sacrificed cricket and footy for music practice.  Only a nerd would do that! My “jawbone” won the day!

Academic work didn’t come easily for me.  In Year 10 (Junior as it was called in the 60′s) my Maths B teacher was the Principal (Headmaster in those days).  He said a terribly deflating thing to me one day – “Gifford, you’ll never pass your Junior.”  I did pass with 8 subjects but failed one. Yes, you guessed it – Maths B! As Head Boy this really pricked my ego and I did hold a teenage resentment.  If only I could have responded the way I know now!

Then, having failed my Leaving the first time due to a case of shingles just prior to and during exams, I had another go. Despite the humiliation of having to go back and mix with a different year group,  I held onto my childhood goal of wanting to be a school teacher, and passed all subjects.

At Uni the Professor talked to me about “recognising my ceiling and limitations”.  Another lecturer said, “We will have to wheel you out in a wheel chair by the time you pass”.  Not only did I pass my BA, then my Dip Ed while working full time but I went on to complete my MA and PhD from London University Institute of Education and along the way did a M.Ed. 

I had been given such a powerful “jawbone”.

And then there was the sport! Overcoming the set back from polio and becoming Captain of cricket, football (AFL man!) and athletics as well as winning the PSA Schoolboy 800m comes from talent and determination.

I guess I was brought up to never give up.  This inherited value was nearly the death of me when I first went to the city from the country town to finish my final two years of schooling.  My sporting reputation had gone before me.  At the cross country trials, I was absolutely “gone” by less than the half-way mark. I just wanted to quit.  The stitch in my side was killing me but I hung on to lead the race. 

With about two kilometres to go, I thought I would black out.  Stupidly, (or was it an inbuilt determination or my Dad’s ”tape” in my head?) I kept going.  I led the runners back to the school oval for the final lap – lungs bursting, muscles stretched to breaking point, just willing myself to finish the race.   About 20 metres from the tape, as the new boy from the bush running against the well trained city kids, I became aware of something passing me.  It must have been another runner – all was a blur.  Apparently I did finish but woke up in the school’s hospital hours later with a Doctor hovering over me.

Writing that story some forty five years after it happened, it seems almost as if I were there in the race again.  In my perseverance, was I stupid, proud, courageous or determined?

Later, in my professional life, I came to understand that for my personality type (ENFP in Jungian terms) the questioning of personal integrity is the worst thing anyone can do.  On numerous occasions the ”jawbone” of perserverance combined with unconditional love and positive regard toward my “false accusers” have become powerful weapons in winning the day.

 Persevering in relationships in a way where others have to face themselves and not the ugly, fearful manifestation of my ego has enabled me to maintain a peace of mind in adversity. For many, this is unfathomable and they give up or quit relationships without persevering.

There are many more stories like these. One in particular, comes to mind. Some 12 years ago, I hit a wall, as they say. Despite being told by many “experts” that I would never work again, their opinions have been confounded.  In fact, I have had one of the most productive and rewarding periods of my life.   Churchill said in his famous speech to a group of school boys ,”Never, ever, ever give up!” I agree.

Angela’s question was a fantastic catalyst for me to reflect upon and explore a great personal attribute that I have been given. Clearly, it has been my “jawbone” throughout my life and will be for the rest of my earthly days.

Perhaps we could all benefit from seeing  what we already have been given and put it to work, instead of searching in far away places.  Often the answer is right under our nose!

As with many people, right now, what we thought was secure in terms of work and finances has suddenly been lost.  What we have spent the last two years working on has been taken away and considerable finances with it.  This is nothing compared to our fellow Aussies in fire devastated Victoria and the flood victims in North Queensland.  Nor is it anything like the sudden and untimely death of a close friend’s  young wife who was phoned at work recently to be told that his wife had fallen at home and died!

As I close this piece of self-reflection, I am mindful of the shadow side of the “jawbone of an ass”.  The shadow side of perseverance is stubborness.  And to be stubborn is to be a silly ass!

And so, in all of this, I ask myself, ’What is the core motive for my perseverance?’  Is it borne out of a stubborn pursuit and need to protect and preserve the ego? Is it a blind determination to achieve goals, no matter what the cost?  Perhaps once it was.  Now, older and wiser, I test my reason for persevering in situations against these questions. ”How might  I positively serve my character and humankind by persevering in this endeavour?”  ”How is it On Purpose for me?”

Samson needed to see what had already been given to him – just the jawbone of a donkey.  But it was sufficient for him to win the victory.

So what is your “jawbone” to help carry you through to success and significance?  Once you realise what you have been given, recognise where it has come from and put it to work you will be amazed at your achievements and insights. Enjoy the discoveries!

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