Purpose Design is… strategy blended with emotion

Purpose Design is… strategy blended with emotion

When we talk sports, there’s an unwritten rule about the need for an athlete to have fire. Thinking back to this last Seahawks season, Russell Wilson signified this concept clearly.

In the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, Russell Wilson was in the midst of a poor game. Entering the fourth quarter, the Seahawks were down big and Wilson had thrown multiple interceptions.

But if you watch the variety of shows that emerged after the game with him mic’d up, you’ll see a fierce competitor with an endless supply of fire, and a cold-blooded knack for strategy.

As the Seahawks mounted their comeback, Wilson would wander the sidelines in a trance, yelling, “I HATE LOSING!”

And yet, when the time came to mount the game-winning drive, Wilson calmly told his coach he’d connect with Jermaine Kearse for the win because he knew the kind of looks the defense would give him.

In this instance, Russell Wilson employed strategy blended with emotion.

Exploring Fertile Ground

Purpose design explores the same fertile ground. As a business, your strategy is important but it must mix well with the emotional aspects of the work accomplished.

A business can and should draft an airtight strategy. You need to know what you are producing, the value proposition for the product or service, the ways in which your company can gain advantage on your competitors.

But strategy is not enough, especially when the hope is to arrest the hearts and minds of your employees and your customers.

Buying the World a Coke

Purpose design seeks to connect your strategy with the emotional pull of product and purpose. The idea isn’t new. Consider the popular Coca-Cola commercial in the early 70s, where a mixed group of individuals sang a jingle about buying the world a Coke. The advertisement wasn’t extolling the benefits of taste compared to the competition. It wasn’t arguing about the cost-benefit of the beverage. It suggested, instead, that the beverage creates community and friendship. If you want to spend time with people you love, buy a Coke.

That’s an incredibly emotional avenue toward Coca-Cola’s strategic goals.

Purposeful Performance

Internally, the same principles apply. Engendering “fire” like we see in Russell Wilson is a key component of purposeful performance. When everyone is on the same page about the big picture and the way the work makes everyone feel, you’re going to see efficiency and productivity.

For this reason, it’s important to blend strategy and emotion. You want to see your employees have the fire of Russell Wilson and the intellectual muscles to make the quick strategic decisions in overtime.

The Bottom Line
  • Most businesses have a strategy in place, but what are the emotional components that surround the company. How do you want your employees and customers to feel? Make a list of emotional components and map them against your business objectives
  • What structures and processes can you implement to reinforce the emotional aspects? Are there events to run in the community? Meetings internally to discuss specific aspects. Connect tangible items to your emotional benefits.

Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr/Creative Commons

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