Purpose Driven Performance

Identifying, hiring, and retaining talent to help you live your “why”

Quick question: Have you ever thought about what your purpose is in life? You know, really reflected on the reason you get up each morning to face the unknown and do what you do?

What about in your career? Besides collecting a paycheck and striving to hit revenue numbers or quotas, does your work have a meaningful impact on others?

If you haven’t asked yourself these questions or aren’t able to answer them confidently, I encourage you to make time to do so. What you discover just might surprise you.

Better still, it could—and perhaps should—become the driving force behind everything you do.

Working from the Inside Out

The renowned author, marketer, and motivational speaker Simon Sinek explores the impact that being mission driven can have on individuals and organizations in his best-selling book, Start With Why.

Analyzing such visionaries as Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers, Sinek introduces his theory of the Golden Circle.

Sinek’s now-famous Golden Circle illustrates how the most successful individuals and organizations focus first and foremost on why they do what they do. It’s the literal and figurative nucleus of their being.

Building off their why, people and companies that ascribe to this philosophy move to the second ring of the Golden Circle: how. In business vernacular, this is the person or company’s value proposition and unique selling point.

The third and final ring of the circle is what they do. Depending on the individual or organization, this encompasses the products they make or services they provide.

There’s no shortage of people and businesses who operate with an outside-in approach and are somewhat successful by many of today’s standards.

However, the best organizations—and those striving for a similar degree of greatness—stand that model on its head, choosing instead to reach for a greater purpose by working from the inside out. They are, quite simply, purpose driven.

Establishing Your Why

When I started my own executive search firm in 2013, I set out to provide a better service to both clients and candidates. I wanted to establish an organization that was driven by more than revenue numbers, placements, and new clients, which would allow us to partner with companies whose values align with ours.

Today, my colleagues and I are committed to a simple mission: To improve lives, build great companies, and drive innovation. This is the motivation that gets us out of the bed each morning and keeps us rowing in the same direction.

It is, simply put, our why.

So, what does it mean when we say our purpose is to improve lives? At the most basic level, it means we’re staying laser-focused on helping our clients, our candidates, and our employees reach their full potential.

For example, if we’re working with a candidate who’s traveling too much for work and not able to be at home with their family, we’ll try to find them a new opportunity with one of our clients where they’ll have a better work-life balance.

Meanwhile, when we partner with a high-growth healthcare client to place a sales and marketing executive, we’re not just trying to fill a position; we’re executing a key component of the company’s strategic plan.  

This, in turn, helps to drive economic growth, create jobs, and foster innovation within the organization and beyond. It also improves patient access to the vitally important medical products and services the company produces and markets.

This completes the inner circle in Sinek’s hierarchy, the central mission around which our clients—and, by extension, the candidates and our team members—unite.

Moving Beyond Why

If you’ve tried to find a job or fill an open position over the past decade or so, you may have noticed that the “human” element in hiring has largely disappeared in corporate America.

This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in the staffing industry, where technology now automates many of the functions that HR professionals once performed.

While technology certainly has its place in modern recruiting, purpose-driven search firms—much like mission-oriented companies in other industries—take a hands-on, specialized approach to executive placement.

It’s how they activate their why.

Fortunately, my colleagues and I realized early on that we can’t be all things to all people. That’s why we’ve committed ourselves to being experts in four niches within the healthcare industry: diagnostics, medical devices, dental, and healthcare technology.

To help our clients execute their vision, we work to understand their objectives and what talent strategy they need to achieve those goals. We take a management consulting and strategic HR approach to talent acquisition and recruiting rather than simply trying to fill an opening.

This singular focus has allowed us to amass more than 55 years of healthcare recruiting experience, serving organizations that range from venture capital-backed, late-stage startups all the way to Fortune 500 companies.

It also enables us to assign a client partner, account manager, recruiter, and operations specialist to each project, ensuring we deliver high-quality candidates quickly while maintaining excellent communication and exceeding expectations.

Strengthening Your What

Within the Golden Circle framework, the outermost ring represents an individual or company’s what, the area of business where most organizations concentrate their time and resources.

No doubt, the products and services that a company provides are crucial to success. However, to be truly purpose driven, you can’t neglect your how and why—they must all work in tandem.

For instance, what my colleagues and I do is locate, interview, and recruit qualified candidates for leadership roles in diagnostics, medical device, dental, and healthcare technology companies. We also partner with clients in these fields to plan and execute commercial expansion projects.

But it goes much deeper than that.

We’re not just trying to fill an open position; rather, we’re identifying high-caliber talent whose values align with the organizations we represent.

By ensuring both client and candidate share similar values, we’re helping them all—and by extension, our firm—live out their purpose and mission.

It completes the circle, both in the literal and figurative sense.

Bringing Meaning

If you’re wondering why I’m sharing how we’ve evolved as a company, rest assured it isn’t to boast.

Instead, I’m highlighting the fact that organizations of any size in any industry can borrow from the blueprints of legendary purpose-driven companies and transform the way they do business.

By centering your attention on why you do what you do and rallying your team and others around a shared purpose, the performance and results will follow.

Lee Kester is the CEO and Founder of Kester Search Group LLC, a consultative talent acquisition firm that specializes in executive search and commercial expansion projects for diagnostic, dental, medical device, and healthcare technology companies throughout the United States. He can be contacted via email at lee@kestersearch.com