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Think about Starbucks - its mission is to sell coffee, lots of coffee; but its purpose is to provide a place, other than home or office, where customers can visit, connect and meet up with others. Fulfilling that purpose has resulted in significant profits for Starbucks.
 
Many of the large companies that have faltered over the past two years appear to have lost their purpose, if they ever had one. Some of the mega banks and other large financial institutions are prime examples. Their whole approach to business appeared to have been profits at all cost - profits for the company and profits for the executives. The company culture became all about how much money they could make and how fast they could make it.
 
Today, many customers are flocking to local banks because these banks still have a sense of purpose, and that gives the clients a sense of importance beyond just being depositors. Monarch Bank, an institution in Hampton Roads, Virginia, is one of those banks. How they describe their purpose says it all: "Building lasting relationships through exceptional service." That idea permeates the culture of its branches and is instilled in all its employees. The bank is, of course, interested in profits too, but having a purpose beyond making money seems to be making a difference for it as it grows while others fail.
 
In his book "Punished by Rewards," Alfie Kohn stated: "Study after study has shown that intrinsic interest in a task - the sense that something is worth doing for its own sake - typically declines when someone is given an external reason for doing it."
 
Financial incentives actually can squash motivation, pulling an individual or a company exclusively toward mission and profits ... and away from purpose.

True motivation starts with having a well-thought-out purpose, using that purpose to create a mission, and then establishing appropriate goals to achieve both mission and purpose.
 
If you want to know your purpose, try this simple exercise requiring only a pen and one piece of blank paper. At the top of the page write Innate Talents. About one-third of the way down the page, write Leadership Brand. Two-thirds of the way down the page, write My Purpose.
 
Under Innate Talents, list three to six talents that you believe you have. Keep them simple; short phrases or one-word descriptions are good. For example: writing, teaching, creating, building, selling, technological genius and leadership, to note a few.
 
Under Leadership Brand, write the words that come to mind when you think of yourself in a leadership position. List three to six descriptions of your leadership style. For example: inspirational, lead by example, transformational, good works, organizational.
 
Finally, take your time and review what you wrote under the first two headings. Now, under My Purpose, try to describe your purpose in life in one phrase or sentence, keeping your talents and leadership brand in mind. There should be a consistent theme running through these.
 
Perhaps that exercise gave you a revelation about your mission and purpose. If your purpose, mission, leadership brand, and talents align with one another, then you will be unstoppable in any other part of the business world. And if that doesn't motivate you, then no amount of money or rewards will either.

 
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