Culture Leadership Charge - Define & Align to Servant Purpose

Driving Results Through Culture

Apr 12 2022 • 3 mins

In our new book, Good Comes First, co-author Mark Babbitt and I propose four culture cornerstones that are the foundation of an uncompromising work culture.

These cornerstones help align people and practices to your ideal work culture.

Our first cornerstone, “Live Our Servant Purpose,” enables leaders, employees, contractors, and even customers to see that your company serves a purpose other than just making money.

What is a “servant purpose”?

A servant purpose describes how or what your company does and how it improves the quality of life for employees, customers, and the communities served.

Essentially, your servant purpose is your company’s present-day reason for being—other than making a profit.

That higher purpose shifts your organization’s primary focus from making money (or making red wagons, circuit boards, or sandwiches—none of which are innately inspiring to employees) to serving others: generating tangible benefit to your customers and your communities.

When a leader lives her servant purpose, she doesn’t just serve that servant purpose—she also acts daily in service to her people.

In a Good Comes First company, a leader must ensure she is not the only leader in the organization modeling its servant purpose.

Unfortunately, too many employees experience a crappy boss who is more concerned about compliance and conformity than creative work—a boss who doesn’t care about their people (respect), only about their bottom line (results). In today’s world of work, this is a significant reason far too many of our workplaces suck (and why many of those 48 million US workers voluntarily left their crappy jobs—and crappy bosses and crappy colleagues—in 2021).

Good Comes First companies employ and promote the leaders who are fully capable of embracing the servant purpose—and their people. Moreover, those servant-first leaders genuinely care about personal and professional growth and see each employee, contractor, vendor, and partner as an integral part of that growth. Just as important, these leaders treat any sign of inequality and bias as the cancer they represent in any workplace.

And they insist their fellow leaders do the same. Soon, the entire leadership team is focused on not just results but on making people’s lives better. That, in turn, inspires your team members to model the servant purpose, as well.

This episode was first published in video format on on April 12, 2022. All rights reserved.