Purpose and profit — how Global Mobility enhances your culture, capability and cause
Successful organisations are often driven by a single-minded mission or clear sense of purpose. For commercial companies like Santa Fe, and for lots of our clients, separating what you do from why you do it can be tricky.
In this edition of Reloverse, Global Mobility teams can learn how to communicate a meaningful value proposition to international employees and customers — and understand why being physically present in other cultures and countries lends power to your purpose.
Profit — a result not a reason
If you’re one of the 150 million people who’ve watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on how great leaders inspire action, you might have pondered your company’s place and purpose: the why you do things, above the what you do. He talks about Apple, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright Brothers. He positions profit as a result — not the reason you’re in business. It’s laudable, inspirational stuff, especially if you’re a charity or campaigning group. But if you’ve ever tried to distill your commercial company’s reason to exist into a meaningful, truthful sentence, you’ll know it’s not that simple. So how can you communicate your culture, competencies and cause on an international stage?
Why do you need a why?
First off, it’s useful to understand the commercial imperative of having a purpose. If you can condense all you do into an authentic, motivating statement, you’ll win customers and leverage their loyalty. Meaningful messaging also makes it easier to attract and retain the best people, while environmental, social and governance changes from a policy statement to an integral, strategic driving force.
A right and wrong way to write it
How you phrase your purpose is as important as having one. But it’s all too easy to muddle and mix your strategy, goals, aims, values and philosophy — creating something incoherent. By trying to say everything and please everyone (often internally) you risk being vague, generic or clichéd. Remember — this is a guiding principle that could well be a strapline or tagline on your website or marketing — but certainly doesn’t need to. It needs to be clear to all, not limited to your leadership team or industry insiders: clear enough that friends and family should be able to understand it, as should most 10-year-old children.
Translatable and relatable
Our own purpose is ‘We enable people to work, live and thrive in new places around the world’. It’s easily understood in English and translates effortlessly into the languages spoken in the 170 countries that we service worldwide. It doesn’t spell out precisely every facet of our capability — but describes our place and purpose. Our usefulness, if you like. We’re essentially a service industry — but if you produce a product, things get even easier. Your purpose boils down to describing what commercial or societal problems you profitably solve. In short — what your company is about and who you hope will benefit from it.
Live your purpose in person
If you are a global business or aspire to be one — your purpose should be robust enough to cross continents and cultural divides without wholesale change. Your products may make a statement, but what your people say matters more.
Things like mission, vision and values are naturally centralised functions — and are top-down. What your regional staff and customers experience on the other side of the world is the opposite — bottom-up. So it’s important your purpose doesn’t sit on a portal or is a paragraph reserved for induction or onboarding. It needs to live and breathe each day through people across every territory you trade in.
A clear, competitive advantage of having staff on assignment in-country is to embed your purpose in person. From an internal perspective, workplace safety, employee well-being and investing in local communities impact the societies you serve. Without imposing unwelcome values, having trusted ambassadors on the ground will embed your purpose — enabling your company to be a better corporate citizen. It will make you a better employer while boosting the bottom-line of your business at a local level.
As we all adjust to a more virtual working world, questions are being asked about the need for physical presence overseas. After all, so many things can be achieved through technology without jumping on a plane, can’t they? But there’s mounting evidence that a deep, positive purpose is about people more than products — particularly in emerging markets. Instilling the passion behind your purpose takes more than technology and training, it should permeate all you say and do. Having effective envoys to lead and empower staff around the world to live and breathe your purpose is the solution. It’s people skill, delivered in place and in person. Your strategy will set your why, what and when — we’re here to help with where you succeed internationally.
Live, work and thrive
Finding efficient ways to place your corporate ambassadors and envoys in-country is part of our purpose. Our services span the entire relocation journey, helping customers find and communicate theirs. To see how we make it easy, simply drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you