On a business level, having clarity around your purpose enables you to execute with passion. I've had some very inspiring chats with accountants who have embraced technology, and are very excited about the opportunities to make a real difference to their business owner clients by utilising real-time information for efficiency gains.
I used to hear jokes (usually told by accountants) along the lines of:
- What is the definition of 'accountant'? Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.
- What's the best way for an accountant's husband to get some sleep? Ask his wife about her day.
- What's the difference between an accountant and a lawyer? The accountant knows he's boring.
With cloud accounting platforms and the exciting new world of fintech, the joke is on those who don't get on board.
A VUCA world
Purpose plays a tremendous role for a company in this time of digital disruption. I'm seeing and hearing this message pretty much everywhere, including at a presentation by Roger Lewis today. It's increasingly a VUCA world we live in, full of:
- Volatility - where change dynamics are increasingly rapid.
- Uncertainty - where present events are extremely unpredictable.
- Complexity - where decision factors are multiple and correlated
- Ambiguity - where causal relationships are completely unclear.
It's also a world of information overload, where there are an almost overwhelming array of options and possibilities. If you know what your business purpose is, you will reframe disruption and see it as an opportunity to turn VUCA into:
- Vision - where you have identity of purpose, collaboration, and alignment of attention.
- Understanding - where you have curiosity to learn, empathy to listen, and openness to explore.
- Clarity - where you have the ability to simplify, systems thinking skills, and are able to harness intuition.
- Agility - where you have a readiness to adapt, capacity to innovate, and a willingness to empower.
The importance of purpose
Every now and then you come across one of those life-changing books, such as 'Man's Search for Meaning'. Written by Viktor Frankl in a week in 1946, he details his experiences in Auschwitz from a mindset perspective. This book is constantly referenced in management literature, with the understanding of the importance of having a clear purpose - both in life and in business.
Having authentic purpose helps you focus your attention and cut through the information overload. Not only can purpose transform behaviour within an organisation, it can inspire commitment by telling a story and unifying a team.
"Purpose is the underpinning and overriding reason an enterprise exists. As such it unifies its people and guides all its actions" Nikos Mourkogiannis
Companies must satisfy the need for a purpose - a set of values that defines an organisation and inspires and motivates its employees.
So if you're not sure what your purpose is, perhaps it's time to take stock. And if you have a good accountant joke, please email it through to us!