Business Transformation Begins with an Inside-out Reflection of Who You Are

A deep understanding of who you are, individually and organizationally, is the first step to authentically connecting with customers, attracting team members that share your vision, and realizing a growth path.

Long before you start a transformation program or define a path to growth, there is a need to identify (update or confirm) and state the purpose (your why) that drives your business ambition and goals (your what). Underneath your choices and behaviors are the values that drive them, both personal and business-related.

Alignment of your purpose, ambition, values, and behaviors is critical in knowing what you stand for and how you can most authentically connect with your customers and organization in a meaningful way.

Purpose: Your reason for being

A business’s purpose is a reason for existing beyond profit. It’s not a corporate statement that lives on corporate assets. It’s your basis for building a real emotional connection with customers, business partners, and your organization at large; your inspiration for cultivating lasting change. More likely than not, you’ve already given some thought to your business purpose. It’s probably the reason you ended up where you are in the first place and perhaps why you are reading this.

A company’s purpose may have started with one person, but once others are brought in, all contributions should be taken into consideration. At the very least, there should be unanimous alignment with the business’s reason for being. Because, again, anchoring that why is the driver for your what.

Ambition: What you plan to achieve

Business ambitions might be established on financial, market position, ecosystem, growth, business model and shape, brand, customer, organizational, or social goals. You’ll likely have a combination of categories in your overarching business ambition.

Yes, financial outcomes are one aspect of it, but revenue or profit shouldn’t be your sole aspiration. In my experience, positioning profit as a welcomed result of collaborating to bring your purpose and other ambitions to life tends to return more fruitful and longer-lasting financial performance. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

Maybe you want to be the fastest-growing in your industry. Or you want to prioritize year-over-year (YOY) growth with only healthy dollars (on purpose, on target, etc.). What target customer outcomes, societal outcomes, brand outcomes, or business identifiers align with your purpose? These answers will guide how you define your ambition.

Once your purpose and business ambition have been established, check in on the non-negotiable organizational values and behaviors that would be required to bring them to life.

Values: Your guiding principles

Values live in your heart, not in your logical brain. You don’t “think” your values, you feel them.  They are deep-rooted beliefs regarding ourselves and our businesses that guide our attitudes and behaviors. So, it’s key that you understand, communicate, and align across the organization on what those values are.

Listing out your core values and getting organizational co-creation and buy-in calls for accountability. It’s much easier to lose track of values that you never set in stone. If integrity is a core business value and only those in alignment are brought on board, the expectation is clear that all team members will do what is right, even (and especially) when no one is watching, because they also hold high standards of integrity.

Values need to be expressed tangibly through examples of behaviors - not flyers and slide decks - that make them actionable and measurable.

Behaviors: Your values in action

Your behaviors are the actions that bring values to life. This is where you ‘put your money where your mouth is.’ Check in on how your values line up with your behaviors regularly. Are you living out your business principles in day-to-day actions?

To accurately evaluate whether an organization’s collective behaviors align with the values, look for evidence— actions taken, choices made. I have worked in businesses where this “check-in” with your key values through behaviors was done seamlessly, on a daily basis.

Living and acting upon your purpose-driven values means regular evaluation at all business levels. When assessing whether behaviors are lining up, it’s so important to solicit feedback from the c-suite, middle management, and front-line workers alike. These layered findings are critical to a proper and transparent business assessment.

Once you have completed a full inside-out reflection, circle back to your purpose. Does it still check out? What are you doing well? What needs some work? This reflection process allows for a clear picture of your desired organizational state. It’s the first step to getting a transparent picture of where you stand.

For more info/questions about this topic or business transformation in general, please reach out to us at We’re always grateful to keep the conversation going!

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