Purpose must be embodied to truly express itself

We were, not long ago, both guests of a conference entitled “Why and how to develop your activity around a reason for being?“. An issue that today questions a large number of companies, employers and employees. With the objective of guaranteeing that everyone, within the company, can embody this reason for being, and that it is sincerely proud to be a member of the organization, products and services offered or marketed by your company.

But that’s often where the shoe pinches. In many companies, little or no sense of belonging or materialization of the values ​​presented. Like this company that sells organic products, but most of the employees don’t consume organic. Or like the communications director of a major bank who admits to having five of her six bank accounts with her employer’s competitors! ; as are 80% of workers in this sector who have an account in an establishment other than the one for which they work.

A weak sense of belonging, a lack of meaning experienced with difficulty, a weak commitment to the company that raise questions at a time when the media gives way to the age of recommendation. 85% of people trust the people around them more than brands. 87% of product or service buyers are won over by someone who has recommended what they have tried. Under these conditions, are companies not interested, as a prerequisite for any commercial approach, in attracting their employees before trying to seduce their customers? Anyway, that’s what a company like Decathlon aspires since its creation in 1976, paying close attention to its employees and developing product ambassador communities for each of the sports it covers. United around the passion for sport and the desire to make sport accessible to as many people as possible with its own brand products, company employees and partners are invited to be actively involved in this accessibility.

The reason for being, becoming a reality, taking shape, necessarily implies a substantive work on the part of all employees, wherever they are and whatever they are doing ; whatever their respective talents. So that everyone becomes and sees themselves as ambassadors for the company’s products and services. And for that, the goal it takes shape through systematized, industrialized and institutionalized processes within the company. It is the expression of a long-term company, questioning its added social, human, ecological and economic value. Far from any posture, the raison d’être is inscribed in the very DNA of the organization. It is the reflection of a company in permanent reinvention; of a reinvention that invariably begins with the employee.

discover the purpose

However, if we want to approach the theme of raison d’être in the right way, the question is not to ask ourselves “why put a raison d’être into practice”, but how to “identify”. Because it necessarily exists. She is inherent to the business. It is therefore a matter of discovering and revealing it, not of assembling it or of choosing one. As in the case of Decathlon, which was built on its raison d’être, the original foundation, company founding impulse : “Be useful to people and the planet by making the pleasure of sport accessible to as many people as possible”.

The reason for being is the identity itself, the deep and intrinsic identity of the company, the deepest potential for creating value that the organization is called to express in the world, taking into account all the constraints to which it is subject and all the resources at your disposal. This is not a marketing slogan, but a deep reality that needs to be discovered. And, for that, it is enough, in a way, to be interested in the creative energy of the company, transported, incarnated by the source personthat is, the creator, the one who revealed it and carries it.

embody the purpose

Once discovered, it is therefore necessary to incorporate it, that is, to be in total adherence to it. It is essential that everyone in the organization “thinks” about the reason for being; morning, afternoon and night. Because the reason for being is the daily compass of all those who embody it.

All the processes that govern the company, its management must necessarily be crossed, penetrated, characterized by purpose. In all the jobs that compose it, for each employee, it comes true. Just like in this SME in the south of France where the work went far beyond the simple definition of the reason for being, to ensure that it takes place and declines at the level of each entity, each profession: commercial, accounting, production workshops, etc. Or like at Decathlon, where the reason for being is one of the first things we talk about when recruiting, it is present in all internal communication tools and management tools, worldwide, and distinguishes the company from all its competitors. .

Because, whatever the company, the raison d’être invariably leads to a fractal shape. Each role, each circle, is centered, obsessed with creating this plural value. Each level has its own raison d’être distinct from that of the company. In this way, everyone lives the experience of the reason for being, gradually acculturating to the concept itself, and to its declension at the level of the company, as well as the roles it embodies or the circles in which it develops.

In short, identifying and trusting the reason for being only makes sense if it is incorporated, at all times and by everyone in the company. For your personal benefit, of course, but also for the benefit of the organization. For its development and sustainability. She is, for all those who have chosen to embody her, like Decathlon employees, a fantastic lever of cohesion, an unparalleled driver for the advancement of proud and concerned teams.