Last week I attended the Vitality business leaders’ event; as always it was thought provoking with excellent guest speakers. It also created the opportunity to speak to other senior figures within our industry who, like me, hold strong opinions of what good looks like.
But to be ‘great’ you need to have a clear vision and a purpose – and that purpose is never good enough if it is just to make money. Making money is what happens as a result of doing a great job.
It is the “why” you do something that makes that happen. Your “why” could be to help clients buy a home, it might be to help make sure people have got their finances in order. There are many different reasons “why” someone has started a business or do what they do. If you employ people it is especially important they understand the reasons why you exist.
Similarly, most networks know “what” they do, most also know “how” to do it, but hardly any find it easy to explain “why”. The stock answer is to make money, but it sometimes gets a bit messy when I ask ‘for whom’?
On reflection, I believe that within Pink over the last four years we have managed to tick most of the right boxes in that we had a clear strategy with a management team willing and able to implement it.
Our message has been extremely simple: our “why” is to work with the advisers in our network to help them, to help improve their businesses and their client/customer experience.
The by-product of that is that along the way the advisers become more successful and so does Pink. The more our advisers saw the positive results the more they engaged with us. The more they recognise the faces of fellow adviser turning up to the roadshows again and again, the more they realised we were as good as our word and that the people in the network had our undivided attention.
However none of this could happen unless the advisers bought into our ‘why’ , understood the rules in play and were willing and able to work with us to succeed.
Having a clear ‘why’, a clear purpose gives everyone something to buy into and something to support. Perhaps this is why ‘corporate social responsibility’ became such a buzz expression. We all go to work to earn money in order to live, support our families and pay our own mortgages but people will work harder and engage with you more when they know that the purpose is one they can believe in – and that’s the same whether it is staff, business partners, fellow directors or your clients. It is the ‘why’ that earns hearts and minds and the ‘why’ that may ultimately decide the success or failure of any business.