Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited India in the early 1960s to learn satyagraha principles first-hand from Mahatma Gandhi’s family and followers. He used these principles of nonviolence to lead the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This resulted in improving privileges and rights of African Americans throughout the United States.
Like Gandhi, King saw injustice being imposed on people because of the color of their skin. Martin held dear the words crafted by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” For him, it was time to take a stand and create a movement to bring our society back into alignment with this wisdom. His choice was to do it nonviolently.
Martin Luther King clearly understood his “Big Why”—his purpose for creating one of the most successful Civil Rights movements the world has known.
Do you know your “Big Why”—your Core Purpose? If not, lasting success may elude you.
The core purpose of your organization is like the seed of an apple. “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.” No one knows the potential yield of your organization and how much your employees can produce in the lifetime of your company.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”
Your organization has a unique core purpose for serving the world. This is your “Big Why?”—why your organization was started in the first place—beyond just making money. What’s yours? It is most likely the original heartfelt reason you decided (or are deciding) to take a leap of faith and start a business.
“Knowing your core purpose keeps you centered on what’s most important—during good times and challenging times.”
Remember when you first got excited about the idea of starting your own business—when you got goose bumps just thinking about it? Where were you? What was your inspired idea that grew into your “Big Why?” for doing it—beyond just making money? The answer is something very simple and profound at the core of your mission as an organization.
This is the core purpose of your company. It should be at the heart of everything you do, all the decisions you make. It is why your organization exists. It either solves a problem or fulfills an aspiration or desire. It is the seed that, when properly nurtured, will begin to take root.
Once you and your employees understand your core purpose and have placed it at the heart of everything you do, everyone involved will make good, sound decisions. It will be a compass for all you choose to do.
Here are some examples of core purposes from successful companies that you probably know:
- Disney – “To bring happiness to millions”
- Nordstrom – “Service to the customer above all else”
- Johnson and Johnson – “To alleviate pain and disease”
- Walmart – “We exist to provide value to our customers”
- My company, TLC – “We inspire hope and awaken greatness”
What’s the Core Purpose of your organization?
Much success and fulfillment,
(Adapted from Chapter 2 of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz and Chapter 28 from my book Ray of Hope: Inspiring Peace)