"We need a deliberate strategy to develop a culture of purpose" - interview by John Smibert.
In my last discussion with Ian Lowe he explained how a culture of purpose can drive great results in a selling organisation.
Yet to achieve those results we need to ensure our whole sales team embraces this culture of purpose. This cannot be easy. So, in this discussion, I asked Ian 'how?'.
Ian used a case study to; 1. Reaffirm the importance of a culture of purpose in achieving record sales outcomes - and 2. Explain how it can be implemented.
Read or view the full discussion below to learn more about how to achieve these positive outcomes via a purpose driven organisation. I recommend it for CEO's, COO's HR, Sales leaders, as well as professional salespeople.
Ian is the CEO of Eccoh.co (formally Go-Givers Australia). He is an expert in sales transformation and a specialist in why people sell.
John: Welcome back Strategic Selling group members and all my other followers, glad to have you back! I'm with Ian Lowe again - hello, Ian!
Ian: Hi, John!
John: Ian, last time we had a discussion about all the stats out there, the research that shows that we've got lack of engagement in workforce, and even in sales we've got lack of purpose from a cultural point of view in organisations and people aren't embracing the purpose and culture of organisations. I'd like to talk about how we address this, and I know you've got some case studies. Can you throw around some ideas on what we can do about this?
Ian: Yes, I'd love to, John. In fact, one of the things that we do when we're talking to clients about some of their challenges around sales growth, some things not happening the way they want to and we start to do some analysis and some research, we often find that they've got sound businesses, they've got sound products and services that create a lot of value.
John: A good business model...
Ian: A good business model, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the business, but one thing that's missing is this idea of purpose, something that really ignites the passions in the leaders of the organisations and the people that work there.
John: Right. Have you worked with organisations and worked out how to address that?
Ian: Yes. There's a great example that I'll share with you. We're working with an interior design organisation, and you know at networking events when you have those conversations with people, you meet somebody and you say, "Hi, my name is so and so, your name is so and so..."
John: "What do you do?"
Ian: "What do you do?" The answer would be, "Hey, I'm in interior design," and you might say, "I'm in insurance."
John: And now let's change the subject; there's nothing interesting about either of those.
Ian: It falls quite flat. The response we want to get from those people that we meet when we have those conversations is "Wow - how do you do that?" And with this organisation, it was like there wasn't that great response. So when we started to do some research, we've found out that actually when the organisation started out they really had a profound reason for wanting to set that business up and get into interior design, and that was because they wanted everybody to live a beautiful life, they wanted to help people live a beautiful life, and interior design was one way that they could do that.
John: Okay. Yes, by ensuring the environment they're living in makes them feel like they're living in a beautiful environment.
Ian: Yes, sure. They don't define what a beautiful life is, but they help you to define it, and they use interior design to help you create your beautiful environment. So by reconnecting with that purpose driver, we're able to start to work - and we're still working through this now - start to work to change the way everybody thinks about what it is their jobs are about.
John: Okay, so if I come and ask people in that organisation now, "What do you do?" what's the answer?
Ian: "We help people live a beautiful life," or "I help people to live a beautiful life."
John: "Yes? How?" [laughs]
Ian: That's exactly right, that's the response you want, right? It's a much more engaging, purposeful approach, not only for the collective team, for the organisation as a whole, but individually if I think that's my purpose, that's what gets me out of bed every day, that's pretty powerful stuff.
John: Okay, so part of that is making sure everybody does embrace their purpose, and in doing so it becomes a culture within the organisation I guess. Is that what you're saying?
Ian: Yes, that's right - absolutely, yes.
John: Okay. So, once that organisation, and let's talk about that interior design organisation, had built this strong purpose and they all believe in it and their staff start answering the question like that, "I create a beautiful life for people," then what sort of results are you seeing?
Ian: Well, we're still at the early stages of this with this particular organisation, but in a highly-competitive environment where there are lots of interior designers doing interior design, that response; "I'm an interior designer," isn't going to get the cut through. You have to have some way of demonstrating to your audience, to your client, through your brand, through your interactions, there's something different about why you're an interior designer. This is back to Simon Sinek, start with why. We're at the very early stages with this organisation, discovering their why and helping them to communicate and demonstrate it in a very effective way.
John: Okay. I guess my real interest is if each individual in that organisation, if they can get their mind around that and they embrace that purpose themselves, it's a much better environment to work in, you'll enjoy the fact that you're actually helping people make their life more beautiful, and if you love that then you'll buy into it. There's got to be people that really don't buy into that as a purpose though I guess.
Ian: And that's okay, right? That's okay. I mean, it creates a natural filter. When you're out there looking for clients to work with and clients are looking for suppliers to work with, they're looking for people that get them, there's going to be a natural affiliation, a natural alignment between your values and my values. So if you get my purpose and I get what you're trying to achieve, we're going to have a great working relationship.
John: Hey, it's just dawned on me there's another thing therefore we need to talk about, and that is when we're hiring people and developing people, we need to make sure we're hiring the right sort of people that will embrace our purpose, embrace our culture. Can we come back and talk more about that subject?
Ian: That would be a great subject, John, I'd love to do that!
John: Thanks very much, Ian! That case study helped me understand - I'd like to hear later on the end results of that project.
Ian: Yes, I'd love to come back and share where we are!
John: Thanks, Ian - I appreciate your time!
More short interviews with Ian Lowe:
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