Most of what you know about the business goal is wrong


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The raison d’être of your business is its raison d’être. Goal-driven businesses focus on that goal and align everything else around it, including how and why they make money.

Unfortunately, the goal has become a victim of the jargon machine. The “objective” label is affixed to anything that loosely relates to a positive impact, that might seem trendy, or be keyword friendly.

In fact, I recently read several studies published by different agencies on the “goal” to find that they were considering something different. And these studies aren’t the only ones – I regularly take notes on the sidelines of articles on topics like leadership, HR, and innovation that argue for a “goal” but in fact argue for things like diversity or sustainability.

It’s not that things like diversity and sustainability aren’t important or even relevant to end-purpose businesses, but that doesn’t mean the business has a specific purpose or operates in a way that is focused on one. goal.

Four impostors regularly substitute for an objective, despite different definitions.

1. ESG is not the object of your business

ESG – which stands for environmental, social and governance – is a rating system that companies use to track their performance against measures in each of these dimensions. Perhaps more importantly, it is a system used by investors and shareholders to assess the impact of the company on the world. This affects which companies they choose to invest in and how they track their investments over time.

While environmental, social and governance issues have their place in the broader principles under which a purpose-built business operates, sustainability, fair wages or ethical supply chain concerns are not the goal. about your business, and caring about it doesn’t make your business goal-oriented.

Related: How to make your work more meaningful

2. DEI is not the focus of your business

DCI – which stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – was once a subset of ESG, but it has since become a top priority for many companies and their boards. Because it is so timely, many reports and articles treat DCI as one and the same goal.

But this is not the case.

A purpose-built organization treats its employees as Someone, not something, which means your team members are humans first. Your team comes to work as individuals, with unique experiences and diverse perspectives. And they also have their own personal goal.

Treating your employees like full human beings does not mean that your business has a purpose or that it is motivated by a purpose. This means that you and your business strive to treat your employees well.

Related: 3 reasons why a strong goal is a good business idea

3. Nonprofit Support Isn’t Your Business Purpose

Many companies support a nonprofit organization through donations or volunteer hours. These efforts are often presented as a sign that the business has a purpose.

Now, it’s possible that your business has selected a nonprofit organization to partner with to more effectively enable your own impact – and this can be a component of a strong goal-driven model.

It’s also possible that your company will write a check on the side or organize a company-wide volunteer day to make up for your unsatisfactory activity.

Your charitable efforts are not the goal of your business, and supporting a nonprofit doesn’t make your business motivated.

Related: 4 ways a clear goal benefits your business

4. Because marketing is not the goal of your business

Cause marketing involves a collaboration between a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for a common benefit. It may also refer to social campaigns implemented by for-profit brands. The latter has grown in popularity in recent years as businesses choose to take a stand, making these campaigns – and by extension cause marketing – a major association with the word objective.

Cause marketing can be a valuable tool in supporting a nonprofit organization. In fact, I often point out to the companies I work with that they can do more and sometimes deliver greater value by lending their marketing engine and visibility platform to the association of their choice, rather than just write a check.

As true as it may be, because marketing is not the goal of your business or the extent of its purpose. The focus has to come out of the marketing department if we are ever to make running a goal-oriented business the way things are done.

The goal sets the direction of your business

The four impostors identified above may support your business purpose, but they are not. Your business purpose is the fundamental raison d’être of your business. It focuses on your why – why your business exists, why it does what it does, and why what it does is important. Regardless, what your business does should deliver lasting value.

The object of your business acts as a lens. You should be able to make any decision, filter it through the lens of your core strategy, and come up with something that aligns with your business goal. This way the goal is practical as it provides clear strategic direction. When you use the goal as a goal, decision making becomes easier because you are already focused. You know right away which opportunities to turn down, which helps you eliminate bad investments in time and energy.

To claim goal-oriented status, you need to be committed to both making money AND making an impact, with your impact inextricably linked to the way you do business. Profit is not the goal of your business; profit is the result of identifying and effectively pursuing your goal.

The four impostor goals should be incorporated in a way that connects with your business purpose and makes sense with your business operations. By aligning them with your goal, you can make imposters more intentional.


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