My Family’s Financial Legacy

I was hoping to get that stuff here…:

via Dilbert

As silly as this comic might be on the surface-level… I really do think that we honestly approach our (new) jobs exactly like this.

We want to know that what we’re doing is impactful, not just for the company but for our own personal lives. We want to be known for the work that we do, not arrogantly or egotistically, but because it’s part of the greater feedback loop of value-creation.

In other words, it’s how we know if what we’re doing is having the impact that we want and believe it to have. We want validation, we want some sort of assurance that our most valuable asset, our time, isn’t being wasted.

I want… I need… a distinct, visceral, and real sense of purpose.

Most organizations and businesses do very, very little in making sure that their staff have that sense of purpose. And, to a real degree, most of them are simply not designed or built in a way that can satisfy those needs.

It’s not that they are bad companies (in fact they may be amazing companies with amazing products) it’s just that the conversations are not on-going and not easily visible to everyone else; there aren’t obvious avenues or venues where these types of conversations can be part of the regular ebb and flow of the daily grind.

This is partly why a recent exercise for our team was so important to us – we had the leadership team gather for almost a full-week to discuss and draw-out our core purpose as a company.

Now, it might seem a bit backward to have this exercise so “late” in the company’s existence, but, like most early-stage (software-centric) startups, you’re oftentimes so hell-bent on building something usable that you can oftentimes forget to also iterate on lock-in on the core reason why you’re even there to begin with.

It’s not that the original intent(s) of the founders were bad or mis-aligned; actually, quite the opposite. It’s just that we haven’t, as a team, taken the explicit time to write things out in a way that’s understandable and transferable.

So we went on a “Team Retreat” and here are some of the pics from last week – we had such a blast!

With the great help of our professional organizational coach we walked through a few days of an exercise to find our Core Purpose which landed us in an absolutely magnificent spot, an agreed upon phrase or mantra that collectively resonated with each of us but for very different and very personal reasons.

What a blast. I love working with these folks!

My brother spent a little time talking about this in a recent video (starts talking specifically around minute 2:00):

Our company’s reason for existence?

To create wealth-building tools for everyone, everywhere.

That’s it, plain and simple.

But why does this resonate so deeply with me? It’s because this company, this product, is an opportunity to change the trajectory of my family’s financial history, my family’s financial lineage. It’s an opportunity to transform, possibly forever, my family’s financial legacy.

A few more thoughts on that via my vlog:

The point is this: Unless you can make a purpose statement your very own… to the point where you really, fundamentally believe it to be true, then, it’ll just be a useless phrase or saying that you end up regurgitating. More than that, you may end up being a bit bitter about it.

It also needs to be timeless – meaning, the core purpose should be able to persist way longer than just a particular implementation or piece of software. It should still be usable and have meaning 10, 20, or even 100 years from now.

That’s the only way sustainable organizations and businesses make it, year-after-year, decade-after-decade. These organizations have timeless purpose statements that the founders to the new recruits can all rally around.

This is one of those things that I didn’t know we needed as badly as we needed until I actually walked through the exercise with my core team. I’m so grateful for the time and opportunity and it makes me even more excited about what we’re putting together and building together.

This should, and always be, one of the natural outcauses of a process such as this: More excitement, more joy, more enthusiasm for the future that we are building as a team.

You can spot that a mile away… and if you can’t, then, it’s not there.