In our new book, Good Comes First, co-author Mark Babbitt and I propose four culture cornerstones that are the foundation of an uncompromising work culture.

These cornerstones help align people and practices to your ideal work culture.

Our first cornerstone, “Live Our Servant Purpose,” enables leaders, employees, contractors, and even customers to see that your company serves a purpose other than just making money.

What is a “servant purpose”?

A servant purpose describes how or what your company does and how it improves the quality of life for employees, customers, and the communities served.

Essentially, your servant purpose is your company’s present-day reason for being—other than making a profit.

That higher purpose shifts your organization’s primary focus from making money (or making red wagons, circuit boards, or sandwiches—none of which are innately inspiring to employees) to serving others: generating tangible benefit to your customers and your communities.

When a leader lives her servant purpose, she doesn’t just serve that servant purpose—she also acts daily in service to her people.

In a Good Comes First company, a leader must ensure she is not the only leader in the organization modeling its servant purpose.

Unfortunately, too many employees experience a crappy boss who is more concerned about compliance and conformity than creative work—a boss who doesn’t care about their people (respect), only about their bottom line (results). In today’s world of work, this is a significant reason far too many of our workplaces suck (and why many of those 48 million US workers voluntarily left their crappy jobs—and crappy bosses and crappy colleagues—in 2021).

Good Comes First companies employ and promote the leaders who are fully capable of embracing the servant purpose—and their people. Moreover, those servant-first leaders genuinely care about personal and professional growth and see each employee, contractor, vendor, and partner as an integral part of that growth. Just as important, these leaders treat any sign of inequality and bias as the cancer they represent in any workplace.

And they insist their fellow leaders do the same. Soon, the entire leadership team is focused on not just results but on making people’s lives better. That, in turn, inspires your team members to model the servant purpose, as well.

This is episode one hundred and two of my Culture Leadership Charge video series. In these concise videos, I share proven practices for building and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where good comes first.

You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge and Good Comes First episodes and more on my YouTubeiTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe.

Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.

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S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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