The Case for Leading From Purpose


Below is a real-life example of leading from profit (names and source excluded for obvious reasons). In this situation, everyone is operating from fear and there is no realistic accountability. Behind the scenes, every job is in jeopardy, the company is floundering and the owner can’t see beyond the dollar signs.

The second example reframes the same situation from a purposeful, proactive point of view. The company may be in a financially risky place, but that isn’t the focus.


Example: Leading From Profit

Boss: Sales Manager, I need five million in sales this year. Judging from where we stand today, you are not doing your job. What do you plan to do about it?

Sales: When product improvements are finished and the new marketing plan is finalized, we can easily meet and exceed that goal.

Boss: I didn’t ask them, I asked you. Why are sales down and what are you doing about it? Is the sales staff twiddling their thumbs? Talk to them. Hire people who can do the job.

Sales: How can we do our job effectively when….

Boss: Marketing Manager, you are supposed to be attracting new customers for Sales. I don’t see that happening. How do you expect this company to make money without new customers?

Marketing: We are working on a new, more modern approach and honing our target market in preparation to launch a campaign as soon as product improvements are finished.

Boss: Our market is business owners, period. The product is fine. What’s with you people? Passing the buck doesn’t bring in the bucks. You aren’t working hard enough!


Example: Leading From Purpose

Leader: As you are aware, we have hit a stall in sales progress. What can we do to improve value and engage more customers? Sales Manager, what kind of feedback are you getting from your team?

Sales: Some components of the product are still not functioning as desired, our online presence is not clear as to the problems we solve, and we could use an updated sales funnel process.

Leader: Thank you. Product Manager, do you know what you need to make improvements?

Production: Yes, we have feedback from sales. I have a report from my team on budget and timeframe for you to review.

Leader: Great. Bring your team together this afternoon at 2 pm and we’ll make a plan. No point pushing sales on a substandard product offering, right? Marketing Manager, what are your thoughts on moving forward with a new strategy?

Marketing: We have outlined new sales funnels, how to utilize social media for engagement by reframing existing material and streamlining our website content. Our research and experience has honed our target market to make this new approach far more effective. We would like to do a run-through with the sales team and ensure that we are in line with product improvements, then show you our proposal next Tuesday with timelines and budget.

Leader: Great work, everyone! If all goes well, we should be able to come up with some realistic sales projections by month’s end. Set up your meetings and let me know if there are any obstacles to moving forward.


Which approach has the best chance of success?


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