In our latest Find Your Possible podcast, our founders Luke + Shane, and Partner Nikki talked about what it looks like to grow a purpose-driven business from the ground up.
Our purpose has always been to enable positive change in the world, which to most over the years has seemed like an impossible feat, but we believe big change is created by many small positive and intentional steps. We’ve been taking these steps for well over a decade, and we’ve learned a lot along the way.
Below is an extract of the conversation that unfolded and a few key takeaways.
We grew up in the small country town of Dubbo in a family that was naturally very encouraging of innovation and entrepreneurship, where solutions were created if the opportunities weren’t present. Our grandfather would famously build tools to build a new tool, to build that actual thing he wanted to build. There was never an excuse for not having something. You create the things you need. So when opportunities didn’t present themselves to Shane in 1998 after finishing school, he started his own video production company Industrial Media Worx, and the journey began.
When you become consciously aware of and articulate your purpose, you will grow better and more aligned as a business.
We started out in business wanting to do good, somehow using our creativity to support people who were doing great things in the world. We wanted a platform to go out and contribute positively without constraint.
Over the years, our desire to have a wider and deeper impact has led us to the businesses that exist today. We’ve steadily built knowledge, tools and processes to support and enable organisations to make a positive impact in people’s lives, not just on the bottom line. Rather than keeping it on a micro-level, we decided instead to strive to be game-changers, seeking to influence other businesses to bring about positive change for themselves, their industry and the world.
Like most businesses, for a long time our purpose was intuitive and unspoken – it was just ingrained in our nature and so never really articulated. That made it difficult to impart and mobilise others – our employees, clients and stakeholders – around the same purpose. We spent years not being able to figure out why our team struggled with productivity and passion. We were rolling along fine, we had great clients, great people, but there wasn’t a sense that we were all in this together, striving and driving for the same thing. It wasn’t until we consciously defined our purpose and distilled it into the simplest terms that we were able to truly implement it daily with clarity and direction. It allowed us to align our team and help them find deeper meaning in their work. It inspired our clients. It also enabled us to purposefully seek relationships with those who held the same values and wanted the same things. Without clarity of purpose, we couldn’t have made such intentional leaps forward.
When you build a purpose-led business, the distinction between your personal and professional life disappears, and all aspects of your life become more fulfilling.
We’ve never felt Monday-itis. We didn’t start our business to make money, and we never thought about what external benefits the business would be able to fulfil, like a bigger home or a new boat. For us, it’s always been about fulfilling our potential and serving a purpose in the world. Our personal and professional lives have always been one and the same. Everything we do in our lives is an extension of who we are and what we believe we’re here for.
Having a purpose and values that align with what you say and do from day to day, leads to a very fulfilling life. We are all gifted; everyone is born with a purpose and talents to be used for the greater good. We’re all here to contribute. Growth and progress towards something meaningful are at the core of our humanity – and it turns out it’s the key to energy, productivity, drive, collaboration and innovation.
Realising that has shaped and transformed us and our business, and we want that same experience for every person and business we work with.
Meaning = Motivation
We all need to work at attaching greater meaning to our work every day to stay motivated. Knowing why you’re doing it, the bigger picture and how you’re contributing to that is important. That’s why purpose can start to shift mindsets and cultures – it gives people a sense of contribution to something greater than themselves.
How employees attach meaning to your company purpose will be different for each person. The ideal is for employees to see it as an extension or outlet for their own personal purpose and beliefs – then it will unconsciously and naturally drive them on a daily basis.
In the podcast, Nikki talks about what connects her work and makes it meaningful to her. She explains that it is tied up in her beliefs, values and the future world she wants her kids to live in.
I decided I’m not going to be in this industry (brand/marketing/advertising) and contribute to the inadequacy culture – the one that causes us to believe we’re never enough. You need this to be attractive! Buy it now, or you’ll miss out! Business has squeezed every last dollar out of that tactic over the last few decades, which has caused us as a society to value things that are external to us more than ourselves. I decided I have to contribute to a better way – there has to be a better way to change and shift our industry to empower future generations with intrinsic values. I feel like everything I do contributes to that purpose, it’s all connected for me.
Everyone owns the culture
The culture of your organisation lies within the people and is owned by everyone. You have to define your values and make sure you are living them out. Be self-aware, so you have something to rise to every day. Hold each other accountable and realise that it is a continuous journey and effort. You have to constantly practice and trust, respect and support each other in a positive way to strengthen those values. Everyone has to want, and be striving for, the same thing – which is why you really need to define what that thing is. It has to be something bigger, a greater purpose that everyone can connect with and contribute to. Individual success should be measured by how well your company values are being lived out day to day, not how much money someone makes you or how many hours they put in.
Why settle? Find your purpose, find your possible.
Listen to the podcast here