It was 24 hours before the wedding, and the bride was beside herself. Her dress had not arrived – and wasn’t going to, either. It had been sent by FedEx to the wrong location.

At the FedEx head office, one employee sprang into action.

They chartered a light aircraft to fly the dress to the distraught bride, making sure it arrived well in time for the ceremony. An expensive gesture? Yes. But the company’s motto is “The World On Time.” The employee took this idea very seriously.

There’s an important lesson here for your organization

If you’re like most business owners, you’ve probably spent some time trying to articulate your company’s Purpose or mission in a written statement. Companies usually develop that statement to appeal to their customers. They think it will help position their company clearly in the market, and communicate to potential buyers why they’re special.

The problem is, most customers will never buy from you based on those words – no matter how powerful they are. They choose to deal with you based on other factors, such as reputation, their past experience with you, location, price, and so on.

Your Purpose statement doesn’t matter to them

But that doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time – on the contrary, there is one group to whom your Purpose statement matters greatly: Your staff.

As the FedEx story shows, when your team has a clear idea of your company’s Purpose and find it compelling, it is enormously motivating. When they understand why their job matters, they become emotionally involved in getting it done. They take the initiative, they bring their creativity to the job, and take pride in what they do.

They become engaged.

Ultimately, of course, this enthusiasm and dedication filters down to your leads and customers

Not only do they come to associate your company with extraordinary levels of service, but they also get a clearer picture of how you help them. They begin to understand why they should pick you, which are the very elements you were trying to convey through your Purpose statement.

However, it’s not because they’ve read about it, or seen your slogan on your website, they pick up on your Purpose naturally, because your team is living it.

In the case of FedEx, for example, there was, completely unbeknown to the helpful member of staff, a guest at the wedding who was considering a substantial contract with the company. When this guest heard of the bride’s experience, he promptly offered FedEx the business.

The lesson here? Don’t articulate your company’s Purpose for your customers. Do it for your staff – and watch the rest fall into place.