Dr. John Izzo: Are You Part Of The Purpose Revolution?
Business visionary Dr. John Izzo has been a pioneer in employee engagement, leading change, shifting employee and consumer values, and corporate social responsibility. Through his work, he has helped thousands of leaders transform their organizations and maximize their potential from the ground up.
Dr. Izzo is the bestselling author of seven books, with his most recent, The Purpose Revolution, exploring how leaders can create engagement and gain a competitive advantage in an age of social good. Forbes recently interviewed him about “the purpose revolution” — what it is, why companies should embrace it, and how to implement it effectively.
Below is a segment of the interview, read the whole piece here.
Forbes: What best practices do you recommend for fostering authentic employee engagement with organizational purpose?
Izzo: It begins with understanding the role of purpose in good employee engagement. In The Purpose Revolution we share solid research showing that people who work from purpose are more engaged, more committed, productive, and loyal. But what’s interesting is that people are mostly motivated by their own personal purpose when they get to live it at work.
Many companies spend significant effort trying to convince employees to be proud of the company’s actions, but then do little to help people define and activate their own personal purpose. If you really want people to work from purpose, give them tools to identify their purpose, train leaders to coach (and recognize) purpose, and amplify the real difference people make every day. In the book we talk about “line of sight,” which is showing employees the difference they make in customers’ lives. A large Molly Maid franchisee I know uses testimonials from elderly clients and their families to show the house cleaners that their cleaning services make a real difference in the lives of real people, especially elderly clients who often have fewer social contacts.
Forbes: You say employees are a company’s best purpose ambassadors. You call this “branding from the inside out.” Give us some examples of how this works.
Izzo: Research shows that people believe only 16% of what a company says about itself but 70% say they believe what an employee says. People are also up to ten times more likely to share social media feeds from an employee than one from the company.
One of the most interesting findings—the top reason that people will be great ambassadors? It’s when they feel they are making a difference in their own jobs. That’s why helping people identify and live their purpose is key. When it comes to “branding from the inside out,” there are three steps. First, constantly communicate why your team’s work matters and what makes your company truly different. Second, empower employees to tell their story of how they make a difference (and let them do it in their own way). Finally, let them know why they are the most believable asset and then ask them to help spread the word—but only if it’s authentic and they believe it. CISCO asked employees to honestly tell on YouTube “Why I love CISCO” without controlling the brand message. It had a huge impact.
Forbes: Does purpose really make a difference for a business and for us personally?
Izzo: Purpose sounds like a soft, almost ephemeral thing. But it has research-proven impact. Unilever found their brands like Dove and Seventh Generation that have a purpose connection with customers and employees grow about 35% faster than other brands. Having a personal purpose also makes employees more engaged and more productive. They even call in sick less often. At the personal level, having a personal purpose makes us happier and can even increase our lifespan, according to research on Blue Zones across the globe.
For more than 20 years, Dr. John Izzo has worked with thousands of leaders around the world on employee-engagement strategies and brand transformations. He is known for his hard-hitting practical content, his inspirational storytelling, and the lasting impact he has on organizations.
Interested in learning more about Dr. Izzo and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].