Something that we’ve been talking about lately is ‘higher purpose’….setting a mission and vision, not in the traditional sense of a corporate mission statement that sounds as dry as toast and inspires very little, but in the sense of doing something good for the world, beyond just what you do.
The more we look at the companies we deem as ‘successful’ – the companies whose communities are strong and passionate – the more we see the common thread of higher purpose. It isn’t always as publicized as Google‘s “Do No Evil”…but it is pretty apparent when one takes a look at companies like Flickr and Threadless that there are higher purposes of service there for specific communities.
Chris and I actually sat down well before we even thought up Citizen Agency and wrote down our higher purposes. Our exercise was more of a couple compatibility test, but it has proven to be highly relevant to everything else we’ve done since then. We were to write down our core life goal on a piece of paper, then share it with the other person. Both of us came back with the a statement similar to:
Empowering the end user.
Months later, when Citizen Agency was born, it was born on that higher purpose. The Agency in Citizen Agency is a double entendre.
So, in order to make it dead simple for you to do this exercise start with the personal. What is your personal ‘higher purpose’. (I believe that it is much easier to do this excercise once you have children. That kind of experience forces you to think about someone other than yourself.) Take your personal purpose or raison d’etre and look at what you are creating with your business. Do they match? Can they?
If they don’t, you may have a commodity…and that is fine. Commodities are fine things and much needed in the world. However, it is incredibly difficult to build a community around a commodity. With purpose, it flows.
So, then…what is your higher purpose? We have a client summit on Friday during the day and that is going to be the first exercise. It should be interesting to hear…and then try to work with everyone to see how that works back into their products. I’ll be sure to report the findings here.