For example, if your company has ‘sustainability’ as a core value, then everything you do and stand for needs to be sustainable. To truly have soul and incorporate this philosophy into your organization it can’t just be in one area. You would need to create environmental programs around sustainability, succession planning programs for your people with sustainability in mind, a sales process to gain new clients/customers with sustainability; and every decision you make will need to have a solid sustainable aspect. You can’t say you stand for sustainability then be involved in actions that go against this value. Employees are much savvier than ever before. A vast amount of information is available at their fingertips at a click of a button. They often know more about your organization when they apply to work there than you realize.
A wise person once said to me that all decisions need to pass the “snicker test”. This is when your employees or customers hear a comment that your organization is making about themselves such as: ‘We are a company that cares about the environment’, or ‘We truly care about our people first’. Do they have a small laugh or ‘snicker’ about the statement that is being said? Or do they nod their head in agreement? If people are snickering to positive statements your organization is making then the statement is not really sticking to your core values and will not be believed in. As a result you’re merely saying things that have no true soul.
Identifying and knowing your organizations ‘why’ is a necessary step. Why do you exist? Why does your organization do what you do? What are you trying to provide? Not what is your product our outcome, but the why behind it all. Once you get that then you need to consider how you are doing things on a daily basis and what you are doing. Does it align with your original why? Simon Senik has a great book called “Now Discover Your Why” that is all about this concept. Once you know your why then you must communicate it constantly, live and breathe by it consistently.
Does your organization have soul? Do you know your why, consistently communicate it, align your values and vision with it and then ensure every decision is made this all of this in mind? When you communicate your goals and actions to your customers and employees do they pass the snicker test? People now want to work for and do business with organizations with soul. It takes a lot of commitment to be an organization like this but it pays of in the end.
It’s one thing to have a mission statement, philosophy, core values, or vision as an organization but it is another to live every day, every decision, and every action with soul. Employees are now looking to join organizations that make a difference, that are willing to change the world for the better, that take a stand about something other than just making money.