Enrich-What Is The Purpose Of Your Business, Organization, Family?

“All organizations exist to make people’s lives better… Every organization must contribute in some way to a better world for some group of people, because if it doesn’t, it will, and should, go out of business.” 

Patrick Lencioni

It is rare that I meet with a business leader where this idea from Lencioni doesn’t enter the conversation.  I describe it as the proverbial “perfect storm” for high integrity leaders.  Not only are you hard-wired to help others (when you help others the mesolimbic pathway allows for dopamine to reward you with good feelings), but it is an imperative of the gospel and simply good business.  Getting our teams to focus on changing other’s lives is a “win” by any measure.

When Ron Johnson, the designer for the Apple Store, started formulating the concept for the first of 300 stores around the world, he decided they needed a simple “purpose statement” to rally around.  He came up with “enrich lives”…

Apple is about creating products that change others people’s lives, right? So for the Apple Store mission, we came up with one simple phrase: ‘Enrich lives.’ The entire store, and the experience of the store, would be designed to enrich not only the lives of the customers, but the employees as well.
— Ron Johnson

Put on simple cards that employees were encouraged to carry around, that simple two-word statement, became the filter they made every decision through.  It defined nearly everything they did.  

Enrich lives.

Here are a few examples:

  • Selling - Don’t sell to clients, enrich their lives.  The sales will follow from a very loyal customer base that will tell others about you.
  • Time - Have enough staff so the customer will have as much time as they desire from an employee.  Show you value them and their time by offering yours.
  • Smiles - Hire joyful, engaging staff, that are genuinely interested in others.  They will set and define the culture.
  • Genius - Celebrate support.  People weren’t that excited about manning a help desk, but being a “genius” at the “genius bar” was very attractive.
  • Engagement - Interaction by employees with clients is not measured by length of time, but by the quality of the engagement.  Your team will focus on what you measure.
  • Benefits - Do not focus on features, but how the customer’s life will be enriched by the product (you see this in their television ads as well).
  • Clutter - Clutter causes the brain to use unnecessary energy and makes making clear decisions difficult.  The stores are incredibly stripped down and simple.
  • Multi-Sensory - they let the customers try on the products, touch and feel all of them, before they buy.  The stores are clean, bright, open, and simple.

I am especially convicted and challenged when people who don’t share my fundamental beliefs, seem to realize them better than I do.

What is the purpose of your business, organization, or family?

Is everyone on those “teams” aware of what it is?

Is it the filtering mechanism for everything you do?

What needs to change in order to realize some of the impact and success that Apple Stores experience?