In the age of the great resignation, silent quitting, productive paranoia and now the so-called “career cushioning”‘ it’s time to re-think how we value the people we work with. It’s time to re-build trust and INSPIRE instead of COMMANDING.
When Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, and his team launched the legendary marketing campaign “Think Different” in 1997, they wanted to remind everyone of their brand’s core value: passionate people willing to change the world. It also showed they deeply cared about their employees who dared to be different. “The crazy ones” were the company’s heroes. The text of the campaign says it all:
Was Steve Jobs and Apple right? Do we need more rebels and bold thinkers to change the world? Yes. As Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen point out in their Harvard Business Review article “Learn How to Think Different(ly),” great innovators (launching new businesses, products, and processes) excel at connecting the unconnected using associational thinking. They spend almost 50 percent more time thinking differently than non-innovators.
If it is evident that being different and bold helps a company, yourself, and the world, why wouldn’t more people do it? As Harvard Medical School’s researchers found, 60 to 80 percent experienced being uncomfortable and even exhausted when thinking differently (Carson, 2010).
This means the ones who do; are part of a special box of people; and it requires more effort to do so! Why would these people join Apple; and not any other company? Because they identified with the values of the company: think different. Apple was not just saying words; they implemented those values. It’s about the WHY; the purpose; and I do not see that enough in today’s corporate world doing it!
The Future Belongs to the Ones Seeking Purpose
A few years ago, I connected with Harold Sinnott. Harold is a digital marketing consultant and ranked as a top influencer in digital transformation, emerging technologies, future of work, and business intelligence. Before becoming a consultant, he worked as a human resources director at several prominent companies, such as Citi, Telefonica, Motorola, DHL, and Johnson & Johnson. Harold has a ton of experience in work culture and what makes businesses successful.
“We talk about technology, and it’s very important to discuss the technical aspects of technology. But we need to start with purpose and values because that determines how and what we do,” mentioned Harold. Since childhood, he has tried to understand why different cultures behave differently. And so, in whatever he does today in his personal life or his career, he identifies the purpose and values of his actions. So should everybody.
No matter what we do, identifying the purpose should come first. You will be more fulfilled, your ROI will be higher, you will find it easier to build networks, and your impact on the world will be much more significant.
It starts with the new generation. Young people want to join purposeful companies.
- The Deloitte Millennial Survey from 2014 highlighted that more than 70 percent of Millennials expect their employers to focus on societal or mission-driven problems. When a company focuses on these, it’s a purpose-driven company millennials want to work for.
- According to the Deloitte Review article “Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement,” mission-driven companies have 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of employee retention.
- An eight-year study of high-growth companies looked for traditional drivers behind success, such as innovation. It found that purpose created more unified organizations, more-motivated stakeholders, and more profitable growth (Malnight, Buche, and Dhanaraj, 2019).
You’ve probably seen Simon Sinek’s 2009 TEDx Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” wherein he discusses the core topics of his book The Power of Why. His talk, books, and messages are still impacting millions of lives worldwide—for a good reason. More and more of us want to be understood, and a company saying, “We will make a ton of profit,” won’t attract the best talent anymore. As Simon so insightfully points out, “One hundred percent of employees are people. One hundred percent of customers are people. One hundred percent of investors are people. If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”
Today, we live in a noisy world, and many get overwhelmed by the information they get. Telling people what you do is not enough. The why is much more relevant.
Elon Musk right now is telling his worker to work harder; would I join Twitter? Hell no!! Would I join the ones thinking different? Yes, I identify myself with those individuals!
Steve Jobs and Apple launched the Think Different campaign in 1997 because they wanted to communicate their top values.
The message here is that the most incredible change-makers in our world started with a bold idea. Every single one of them was challenged by others and faced painful rejections. To overcome that and go from an idea to implementation, and scaling is to explain the why, and show you are willing to do whatever it takes: being bold, taking risks, and have skin in the game. It’s also not just about your numbers in the business; it is a mindset. These people do not blame others for failures; they take responsibility.
What are you doing to create this positive change within your organization?
More to discover: Chapter 9; Today’s Superpower: Building Networks : https://www.amazon.com/Todays-Superpower-Building-Principles-Fast-Changing-ebook/dp/B09ZRBKYCB/
- Tharoor, Ishaan. “The ‘Great Resignation’ goes global.” The Washington Post, October 18, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/10/18/labor-great-resignation-global/.
- Piotr, Harry. “Apple – Think Different – Full Version.” September 30, 2013. Video, 1:09. https://youtu.be/5sMBhDv4sik.
- Dyer, Jeff and Hal Gregersen. “Learn How to Think Different(ly).” Harvard Business Review, September 27, 2011. https://hbr.org/2011/09/begin-to-think-differently
- Carson, Shelley. Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life. Hoboken: Jossey-Bass Professional Learning, 2010.
- The Deloitte Millennial Survey – Executive Summary. London: Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, 2014. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-dttl-2014-millennial-survey-report.pdf
- “Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement.” Deloitte Review, January 27, 2015. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/deloitte-review/issue-16/employee-engagement-strategies.html.
- “100 percent of employees are people. 100 percent of customers are people. 100 percent of investors are people. If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.” LinkedIn, February 15, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/simonsinek_100-of-employees-are-people-100-of-customers-activity-6899197315018801153-sC2B.
- Malnight, Thomas W., Ivy Buche, and Charles Dhanaraj. “Put Purpose at the Core of Your Strategy.” Harvard Business Review, September–October 2019. https://hbr.org/2019/09/put-purpose-at-the-core-of-your-strategy.