Purpose – Thanks Salvation Army

Mastering the Customer Conversation

Do you ever think about how purpose is truly the backbone of your customers’ business? How much do we really know about what is at the core of their business or what is at the heart of the companies they serve? What drives their purpose? 

This is our last blog of 2019, and as I sit and think about the year gone by; it is impossible not to think about my personal and professional purpose. And more importantly, the question I ask myself is “Am I able to live out my personal purpose through my profession”? This is a time that many of us take to be with family and friends and to “re-set” for the coming year. To recharge the batteries a bit. 

This reflection hit me a few weeks ago when I was driving to a client meeting, and I realized that I left my glasses at home. Ten years ago, this wouldn’t have been a problem but today, I needed a solution fast. Fortunately, it is not difficult to find a pair of reading glasses anymore so I pulled over, ran into the store, bought my glasses, and got to my training session on time. As I was leaving the store, I passed the Salvation Army “Red Kettle” and just kept ongoing, like many of us do. I didn’t stop to think about the purpose of the “Red Kettle” that I have seen outside stores since I was a little boy. My agenda had me on a different purpose and I just ran on by. I didn’t give it a second thought until yesterday. 

As I was waking up this morning and began to write this blog, I couldn’t help but think about the “Red Kettle” when it comes to purpose. I see them all the time but I often ignore them and even intentionally use a different door to get to where I need to go faster. Then it hit me, what is the real purpose of the “Red Kettle”? Have you thought about it recently, or ever? Based on this, I went to Google and typed in Red Kettle. 

I’ll save you the time from looking it up:  “In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome – funding the project.” The story goes on to describe how McFee would lay awake at nights worrying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding thousands of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas Day. 

Based on his past experience, Captain McFee placed a pot near the Oakland Ferry Landing that had a simple sign on it; “Keep the Pot Boiling.” His passion that was filled with a purpose took off from there. Within six years, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the east coast. Did you know this, “In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden”? Today, the Salvation Army assists more than 4.5 million people during the holiday season and the tradition has spread from the US to Korea, Japan, Chile, and other European countries. Doesn’t this blow your mind – one man saw a need, problem-solved, stayed focused on purpose, and thus led to a sustainable cause that has been in existence since 1891. 

At Braintrust, we recently had a team conversation about our purpose.  It’s always been to help people operate from their place of purpose to help them move from a “sales” mindset to a mindset of “serving” by “solving” problems for their customers that ultimately helps them drive revenue and profits. It is so important to think and “re-set” on your purpose. 

Isn’t it interesting how, when we are stressed in business, that pressure tends to force us into a profit mindset, many times at the expense of purpose.  I have seen this happen and when it is sustained, it can destroy a great company. Ironically, we know that companies and individuals who learn to lead with purpose ultimately have better results when it comes to profit.   

 As we reflect on the year that has been and dream about the year to come, it’s our hope that you will take some time to think about your purpose. Think about it from an individual, organizational, and customer level. What I love about the “Red Kettle” is that you don’t really think about the Salvation Army, you think more about the purpose of serving those less fortunate.  What’s your “Red Kettle” going to be in 2020?  

You are a big part of our “Red Kettle”.  To all of you that we have had the opportunity to serve in 2019, we say thanks. To those of you that we hope to have the opportunity to serve in the future, we look forward to that connection. To all of you that read our blogs or listened to our podcasts, we are committed to helping you and your business think deeper, drive change, and grow with purpose. 

As we close out the year, we have a straightforward request. Between now and the end of the year, take a moment, stop by a “Red Kettle,” make a contribution, and realize that you are doing a small part to fulfill a purpose and help someone less fortunate than you.         

Coaches Corner – Mastering the Coaching Conversation           

Coaches, I have five simple questions that I want you to ponder heading into 2020. 

  • Do you understand your purpose?
  • Do you understand the purpose of your team members? 
  • Do you teach people in your team about the purpose of the organization? 
  • Do you understand the purpose of your customers? 
  • Do you believe that serving your people and customers with purpose will lead to profits?

Source: Lourie Shaull

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