How Purpose Leads to Company Success

How Purpose Leads to Company Success

What is your long game? 

Why do your employees come to work every day? What are you here to provide to your customers? What impact do you want your business or brand to have on the world?

The Dalai Lama talks about starting to work on the change you seek, even if you don’t live to see it come to fruition.

To have real impact, we should all operate our companies like this.

For too long, vision statements, mission statements, and purpose have all been used interchangeably.  But the important thing is that they BE USED.

Too many executives treat these like pretty sayings to put on posters or on the website and fail to really live by them. But without a clear purpose, you can’t engage your employees and get the best work from them. You can’t delight your customers to the point that they stick by you because of what doing so says about them. 

Think long and hard about why your company does what it does. 

Do you imagine a different way of working, a different future, a different system than exists today? Tell us! Employees, customers, and partners want you to articulate this – but more importantly, make decisions based on it.

I invite my clients to create a vision statement that may ultimately put them out of business. If they are truly working to solve a problem that exists, then their purpose should be that that problem may not exist anymore in the future – if they do their jobs well.

The mission statement articulates what they will do on a daily basis in pursuit of that vision. Here’s the difference between a mission and vision statement – all which roll up into your purpose.

Crafting a clear purpose lights a fire under us. We know we can’t rest on our laurels. We are seeking to do something important in the world, in a big or small way. And that is how we get the best from our people and loyalty from our customers.

And purpose-driven companies have been found to increase financial performance, because of its impact on innovation, workforce performance and employee health.

If you don’t leverage your purpose, or vision, or mission to make daily business decisions, you are missing out on how it drives success and impact. (TWEET THIS!)

When defining your overarching purpose, gather input from your employees and then get the right people in the room to hammer this out. Here are some prompts for you:

  • What is the future state of the world we imagine? This is what we’re all working toward, every day, when the going gets tough. Eyes on the prize.
  • Why are we all individually here? What lights us up about this work? Ask your people why they are here! You’ll get gold.
  • What shifts do we create for our customers? What is he before and after? This can help us better articulate the future state we seek.
  • With our specific strengths and talents, what can our company  contribute to alleviating the problem or fulfilling the vision? This will keep you in scope for what you can realistically achieve toward this grander vision.
  • Are we looking to change systems, processes, hearts, or minds – or all of the above? Let’s be clear!
  • If we do our job right, if we achieve this purpose, where do we go from there? This will help you expand into related areas or offerings so you can sustain the business into the long term.

For more about purpose and how it leads to profit – and how to craft a useful purpose statement, tune into my podcast interview with Phil Preston on The Empathy Edge.

Photo credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Don’t compromise your story

Don't Compromise Your Story

Sometimes, we are so confident and passionate about the story we have to tell. We know that we can offer tremendous value, whether through our own brand story for customers or a creative story that leads to art, music, poetry or dance.

Commerce and art are similar. When the story inspires you and resonates for others, things just seem to flow.

Which is what was happening for me as I began the journey of writing The Empathy Edge in early 2017. After some fumbling, I had articulated the message in my heart (thanks to wise help from the fabulous Alexandra Franzen). I was pumped. I had a vision. People validated me with “Yes! This is the business book we need. We need to show that empathy at work and with your customers is the modern success model. Write it. Pleeeeaaaassssse!”

And then, as I pitched to literary agents, the fog rolled in again.

Thankfully, all of them made time to give me detailed feedback or talk with me. They were generous and kind. I was flattered they thought I was a great writer.

But then:

“Well, I’m just not sure where this really fits or how to position it.”

“I don’t know if this will fly to a business audience.”


“I can totally sell this book to a publisher if you change it from “empathy” to be a book about how ‘ feminine traits’ make organizations successful. Will you change it?”

What?! NO.

See, that was their agenda, not mine. They were looking for a neat slot to put me in, something easy to sell. And their publishing partners were pressuring them to find “more books about women’s topics.” (This was right in the thick of the Me Too movement). 

They told me they could sell this book. If I didn’t write the book I wanted to write.

I kindly said no. And pressed on.

See, my entire point with The Empathy Edge and this message that  “cash flow, creativity, and compassion are not mutually exclusive” is to make it gender-neutral. It’s not about male or female traits. Empathy is a HUMAN trait. 

And if I pigeonholed it as “owned” by one gender, I’d lose the opportunity to reach the very audience who, for better or worse, currently makes up the majority of business leaders. And frankly, some of my least empathetic bosses were women, so we don’t have a lock on this either, people.

Most importantly, I’d lose those male allies who were models of empathetic leadership – and who wanted this book to help bring other male colleagues along and help me change the conversation.

So, I said no. To a sweet deal. To it being easier.

The lesson: Don’t let anyone else shape your story. If it fuels you and resonates with others, stop at nothing to tell it. (TWEET THIS!)

And now you can read the book that I wanted to write.

The pre-launch sale for The Empathy Edge is going on now. Click here for details. Buy before October 22 and get some fabulous goodies, including an invite to my exclusive author Q&A, a bonus expert video series, and even, at larger quantities, a free customized workshop for your team or event.

And, when you read it, I’d love to know: Did I make the right decision?

PS: To get some fabulous bonuses, including an exclusive author Q&A webinar, bonus video training and more, pre-order your copies of The Empathy Edge right here:  

After placing your order, just submit your receipt on that page, and enjoy your goodies! Order by October 22. Thank you so much for your kind support! It means the world.

A Tale of Two Customer Experiences

Customer experience is now a defining competitive edge.

In fact, this article states that customer experience is one of the top disruptive trends in business this year.

So let me ask you: Which customer experience would you rather have?

  • One where the customer service rep responds promptly, empathizes with your issue, and offers you options to solve your problem, even if it may not be the original solution you’d had in mind?
  • Or one where the customer service rep blames their lack of responsiveness on the company being too successful to manage all their new business, implying it’s somehow your fault for being impatient?

These were two such experiences I had recently. The first with, of all companies, a cable company. The second, with what is supposed the be a new darling of online retailing.

What made the difference? EMPATHY.

Empathy is not just a feel good trait. It’s an essential brand advantage that impacts sales and customer experience. Especially when dealing with an upset customer or client. (TWEET THIS!)

The bad customer service rep (for lack of a better term) blamed me for the initial problem, acted like she didn’t care at all that I was now in a bind, and haughtily said to me, “Well, I can’t help do anything about it” to which, when I prompted, “Well can you ASK someone who CAN do something,” she replied with indifference, “”Sure, I guess I’ll ask if something can be done, but I don’t think so.” Yep. She never asked.

The good customer service rep immediately empathized with my frustration and shock over a huge increase in my monthly bill (“Wow! I would totally feel the same way if I’d opened up a bill and saw that increase too! Let’s see what’s going on here.”)

The bad customer service rep had canned email responses that were supposed to “show empathy” – except when you get the same phrase in every single email, it’s clear it’s from a script (“We never want our customers to have that kind of experience.”) Well, clearly you do if you do nothing to fix the process.

The good customer service rep had no script. She looked at my account and customized a solution on the fly. (“Let me check something real quick. I think I can move your plan to another one we now have available so you’re paying the same price you were before.”)

Google has seen the business benefits of empathy. Company research projects have revealed that its most innovative ideas, productive teams and high-performers rank empathy high as a crucial factor to success.  Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella cites empathy as the most important catalyst for innovation.

How do we build empathy into the customer experience?

  • Implement the right processes: Empower customer service reps to do what it takes to solve the issue and not tie their hands with onerous “permission getting.” Allow for fast resolutions and creative problem solving.
  • Hire right: Emotional intelligence is crucial. Don’t just staff a body. Be sure you are screening and hiring people who have shown empathy in past roles. Ask them how they collaborate, problem solve or handle angry customers. Role play scenarios in the interview and see how they respond.
  • Scale for success: Your success is no excuse for a poor experience. Don’t blame “too many customers” on the reason you don’t have enough reps or logistical support to solve problems. Don’t blame your email system for not getting customer complaints. That’s on you.
  • Acknowledge feelings: While it’s tempting to not want to legally “take blame” for something that went wrong, you can still be human and say you are sorry the customer is having such a bad experience. Acknowledging their angry or hurt feelings by relating to them from a similar experience you have had can go a long way to easing the pain.

It’s not enough to have a great product. The bad customer service experience company has a great product and it’s killing me that I just don’t want to give them any more of my money.

Image Credit: Photo by Jared Sluyter on Unsplash

6 clever ways to make your content super shareable

6.23.15 Making Sharable Content (Blog)

Your content is so sexy.

It’s polished. Dazzling. Useful. Funny. You cracked yourself up writing that last post. You made your videographer cry when you shared that poignant story on camera.

So why is it just sitting there?

There is nothing more frustrating than creating something wonderful, pouring your heart and soul into it, putting it out into the world and hearing….crickets. I know. I’ve been there, believe me. Years ago, I had a fabulous little blog going for many years that delighted me – and no one else for a long time. And don’t get me started on the time I finally, finally, published a very personal and heartfelt essay that had been tucked away for years only to get zero response.

When you create something useful, heartfelt + true, you must do whatever it takes to share it with the world (Tweet This!)

Put down the vase you’re about to throw in anger and wipe away your tears, Buttercup. Here are 6 sensational tips to make your content more shareable.

  1. Create Good Content: Thank you, Captain Obvious. But seriously. This is not the only reason content gets shared (the Internet is littered with great content that went no where) but it’s a start. We don’t care about your cat, or your kid or your fabulous multi-million dollar business unless we get something out of it – even it’s a good laugh. What’s in it for your audience? It’s great to share personal stories and reveal a bit of behind the scenes about your work and life. But always have “Why should I care?” in mind as you create.
  2. Create Good Content, Part Deux: Make sure it looks good. That does not mean it has to cost thousands of dollars to create. It means pay attention to aesthetics and details. Spell check, make sure the photo is clear, ensure the camera is steady and that we can hear you. Whatever your medium of choice, do it well.
  3. Make Sharing Easy-Peasy: The easier your content is to share, the more people will share it. If you make people take multiple steps in order to share your content, they won’t do it. Like you, they are too busy, no matter how much they want to help spread the word. Shorten URL’s or create customer ones with sites like Use Click to Tweet (my personal fave) to pre-write Tweets that they can share with…well, a click. Ensure your blogs or content have Share buttons so people can share on their social media platform of choice. And make sure they work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to share a cool post by clicking one of those icons, only to find it broken or that it auto-creates a post/link that is too long for the platform anyway so it never gets shared.
  4. Use Stream-Stopping Images: This has been a game changer for me, thanks to the wise counsel of Sarah Von Bargen. You’re scrolling along in your feed when you absolutely have to stop and share based on a cool image that stands out. Photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes. Tweets with images get 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. Make sure you choose an eye-catching image for all your content and size it correctly, as it differs for each platform. Check out this handy guide for social media image sizes. Personally, my VA and I use PicMonkey to resize my images and add a cool caption (like the ones you see on my blog). Where do we find them? Places like Unsplash and Yay Images for starters, but there are lots of royalty-free sites you can use.
  5. Invite People to Share: Marie Forleo is a hugely successful online marketer and coach. She has a massive email list. Her weekly videos get hundreds, if not thousands, of comments each week. She gets a bajillion people signed up for her B-School every year. And yet…at the end of every video, she STILL invites people to like and share her content. You’re never too big to ask folks to do what you want.
  6. Craft Clever Titles and Posts: If you’ve been here a while, you know I try to shake up both my blog post titles and the social media posts promoting that content. Lists work really well (ahem….like 6 ways to…) but so do intriguing titles that invite curiosity. If you follow me on Twitter, (please do!) you can see that I play around with wording to promote the same post. You can use the actual title of your content once or twice, but how about a sexy, cool, funny or intriguing statement instead? This of it like an ad headline. Now, I’m not talking about disgusting Link Bait that dupes you into thinking you’re getting something you are not  – and I despise Link Bait for actual journalism. But for content, you can play around with intriguing variations that draw people in, such as (totally making this up, as it depends on the content itself):

I like Tip #4…what do you think? (LINK)

If you just followed 3 of these tips, you may hit 6 figures this year (LINK)

This baby has the best grandma in the world (LINK)

Why dogs make great yogis

This is as good as chocolate dipped in chocolate, smothered in chocolate with a side of mmmmm…(LINK)

Which of these tips will you put into place right now to make your work more shareable? Do you have any other tips to add? Please share in the Comments below!

5 must-watch videos to delight your brand, brain and heart

12.16 videos that inspire (blog)

There is such a treasure trove of great videos out there. Videos that make us think, cry, and laugh. Videos that inspire us to action or give us pause in our own lives. And videos that crisply and clearly offer tips to move us closer to our goals.

Today, please enjoy these 5 great videos I’ve curated for you, in hopes they will inspire and delight your brand, heart, mind and soul. (Tweet this!)

The Power of Reinventing Ourselves. Dorie Clark’s inspirational, personal (and funny) talk about being yourself, living your truth and parlaying that into your personal brand so that you can uniquely stand out. Dorie’s first book, Reinventing You, is a recommended read in the 2nd edition of my book, Branding Basics for Small Business. Dorie’s next book, Stand Out, is now available for pre-order. It’s a book about how to become a recognized expert in your field – something we all need to discover these days in order to gain true professional security.

7 Problems Every Extrovert Understands. Hilarious! And I’m willingly to admit they are all true and have happened to me on my multiple occasions. Introverts in the house: you will love this as well, as you are the saints who put up with us.

How to Increase Your Twitter Engagement. My girl Amy Schmittauer of Savvy Sexy Social creates the most entertaining – and USEFUL- videos about how to use social media more effectively. Her sharp advice can even be found in the 2nd edition of my book, Branding Basics for Small Business – that’s how much I love her. In this video, Amy shares a little secret for how to tell if you’re doing what you need to do to increase your Twitter love.

Lennon and Samaras Share Title Success With Young Fan: OK, if you missed my post on this a few weeks ago, get ready for your heart to burst out of your chest and your eyes to well up with joyful tears. I showcased this heartwarming video of a young fan getting the experience of a lifetime at the Scottish Premiership soccer match as a great example of how need to make your customers be the hero of your brand – just like Celtic FC did here. The joy in this boy’s eyes says it all.

I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much: The previous soccer video is about making a fan the hero because of his loyalty and not simply because of his developmental challenges. Stella Young was a humorous and tireless advocate for disabled rights. Read more of her story here. Alas, she just came onto my radar this past week when she died at age 32. This TEDx video is a sharp, funny, wise call to arms to stop treating people with disabilities like they are exceptional JUST because they have disabilities and that it is insulting and unfair to treat them that way. Her advocacy and push for change – not her failing body – is what makes her an inspiration. You will crack up at her reference to “inspiration porn!”

Got other videos you love that you’d like to share? Please tweet me the link and I’ll share it out!

Photo Credit: Waferboard via Flickr