As we begin the slow transition back to ‘normal’, there is much talk about what we have learned from this experience and what we can do better in the future. Rabbi Tuvia Teldon proposes one lesson which could prove to be a game-changer.
By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon
By now, most of us are anxious to resume our lives as they were before the onset of COVID-19. The loss of life, business and income has left many of us shell-shocked and disheartened. However, as with all of life’s most challenging events, there are some silver linings to this dark cloud. We’ve seen some people put their lives at risk to save others, and others who have embraced new ways of learning. Businesses again demonstrated their ingenuity by switching their production lines to manufacture much-needed ventilators and personal protection equipment. Still others have turned their focus to developing models to better understand the Coronavirus and how it behaves.
As we begin the slow transition back to ‘normal’, there is much talk about what we have learned from this experience and what we can do better in the future now that we are recharging the economic engines. I would like to propose one lesson and improvement which could be a game-changer!
When faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges like a pandemic and its ripple effects, those who felt a purpose were able to rise to the occasion and produce excellent results for their company. Whether you are a CEO, manager, professional, baby boomer, or millennial in the workforce, you have probably heard that businesses which have a purpose-driven environment have an advantage over their competition. More than ever before, big and small companies alike, across diverse industries, are recognizing that having a social purpose is an important ingredient to achieve employee satisfaction, create teamwork, retain talented staff, and ultimately increase profits.
A recent Harvard Business Review article states that “in our consulting work with hundreds of organizations and in our research – which includes extensive interviews with dozens of leaders and the development of a theoretical model – we have come to see that when an authentic purpose permeates business strategy and decision-making, the personal good and the collective good become one. Positive peer pressure kicks in, and employees are re-energized. Collaboration increases, learning accelerates, and performance climbs.” A recent World Economic Forum held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland had “purpose” on its agenda for discussion by some of the world’s leading CEOs. Organizations from Ernst & Young to Oxford University have reported that discussions on “purpose” have increased five-fold from 1995 to 2016. Fortune Magazine now has a special edition listing the top fifty companies that make “changing the world for the good” a part of their mission. Millennials, in particular, are very prone towards taking a job with a company which shows a social conscience.
The “purpose” trend continues to gain momentum in corporate circles and is equally important in our personal lives which, of course, we carry into our professional lives. Finding a socially valuable purpose for a small or large business can be hard work. The answer could range from changing to a new tagline (Old Dominion Freight Line now states they are “Helping the world keep promises”) to having a pet charity to dedicating employee time to a particular cause to re-engineering your corporate culture. I propose that each business, with enough introspection, can identify their unique purpose, and propel their staff to new heights in pursuit of that purpose.
John F. Kennedy said, “Efforts and courage are not enough without a purpose and direction.” Take the journey to find your unique purpose. Learn how purpose can motivate the best in your company. Then, begin to explore how you can apply purpose to improve your life, the quality of life for others, your business and workplace as we all strive to emerge from this unprecedented pandemic.
Rabbi Tuvia Teldon is Long Island’s Senior Rabbi, who heads a staff of over 50 rabbis in 38 centers. He is author of a recently launched book on “purpose” titled, Eight Paths of Purpose and the course instructor for Chabad.org’s newest course, “Your Path to Purpose.“