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From Purpose to Profit: Three Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

For many organisations improving the bottom line means cutting costs, raising prices or a combination of both. It can be about streamlining, restructuring or simply 'getting better at sales'.

What if there was an alternative approach? An approach that looked at the heart of the business, at what makes it tick, using this as a foundation for improving the bottom line.

Is this possible? I believe so.

Take a look at these three ways to improve your bottom line:

1. Get clear on your purpose

Your purpose is the 'why' of your organisation – why it exists and what it stands for. Clarity of purpose is absolutely essential for long-term business growth and sustainability. Far from being a 'nice-to-do' exercise getting clear on your organisational purpose sets the foundation for strong leadership, solid direction and confident decision-making – all of which have a direct positive impact on your bottom line.

“What you do matters. How you do it is important. But WHY you do it is absolutely fundamental.”

2. Invest in your people

Your people and their potential are at the heart of driving your organisation forward. They are the catalyst for change. Their attitudes, behaviours and actions all directly influence business growth. Think about it. A content employee, who believes in the organisation's vision, will be far more compelled to fulfil his or her potential and deliver results. An employee who feels valued, appreciated and understood is more likely to stay at the organisation for longer, thus reducing turnover, cutting costs of recruitment and therefore having a positive effect on your bottom line.

3.Foster a culture of ownership

One way to invest in your people is to foster a culture of ownership and attachment. Employees in organisations such as John Lewis*, Blackwell bookshops and Fox and Partners all have a stake in the business. Because they effectively own the business they are more motivated to deliver on the objectives and contribute to the long-term success of the business. Whilst this may not be a viable option for many organisations it's important to note the crucial point here – employees feel as though they are a part of the organisation, they have an attachment to it; a sense of belonging. In what ways can your organisation promote, evoke or instil a similar feeling in your employees? What can you do to ensure they feel part of your organisation? How can you foster a culture where your employees are intrinsically motivated to improve the bottom line? Know that this can be achieved. It requires creativity, flexibility and openness and it's often where outside input is hugely beneficial.

All in all new ways of improving your bottom line directly involve the people at the heart of your organisation. Stay tuned for next week's post where we discuss the true meaning of human capital as an organisation's greatest asset.

*All 76,500 of John Lewis's permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer's 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets

Posted on Thu, May 08, 2014 in General Organisational Development
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