Inspire Action by Communicating from the Inside Out

Many of you have heard me talk about the importance of having a clear purpose – for yourself and for your company.

People want to be inspired. Your employees want to be inspired.

If your company can’t inspire them, they create their own sense of purpose and end up leaving you when they find a company with a purpose more aligned to their own.

As a leader, you can inspire your team during the interview process and throughout the year as you manage them. But how do you communicate a company purpose that can inspire the masses – your people AND your market?

This is easier said than done. Defining a true company purpose requires the full support of your company stakeholders. If you’re an owner or stakeholder in a mid-market company, you have the ability to decide what you stand for and how you’re going to communicate it. If you’re in middle management, it’s far more challenging – you have to convince your leadership that this is important and spur them to take action.

Deciding what you stand for isn’t always an easy thing. I’ve worked with many executive teams who have focused on financial results, sales and operational execution for years, yet struggle when addressing this “fuzzier” area.

Communicating with Purpose

Examples always help, so I wanted to share a few.

One of my favorites is from Simon Sinek’s TED Talk about communicating from the inside out. I highly recommend watching the entire 18-minute talk, but if you’re pressed for time, start at 1:30 and hear him talk about the “golden circle” and how it affects behavior.

The goal is not to sell people what you have. The goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.

The goal is not to hire people who need a job.  The goal is to hire people who believe what you believe.

All of this results from your company having a well-defined purpose and set of values, and communicating them clearly, both internally and externally.

Other Examples

Apple is an easy example because most of us have used an Apple product. Here are a few more examples from inspiring B2B companies:

Fortune 500 Company

IBM – Smarter Planet

Mid-size Public Company

Rackspace – Taking a commodity service and differentiating using fanatical support

Smaller Mid-market Private Company

Freshbooks – Positioning accounting software around painless billing

If you’re thinking about how communicating from the inside out can make a difference in your company, consider Simon’s points from 3:00 to 5:00:

If Apple Communicated from the Outside In

We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Want to buy one?

Apple’s Actual Communication from the Inside Out

In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?

Which version is most likely to change behavior?

Give it a try with your company’s messaging.