Since the beginning of time, people have always sought after a purpose.
In the movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise plays a successful sports agent who, at the peak of his career, has worked his way up to an elite status within the sports management industry. A brilliant hustler, Jerry’s life was centered on a never-ending quest for big clients and bigger dollars.
That is until a pivotal point early on in the film where one of the NFL athletes he represents suffers his fourth concussion. Indifferent to the severity of the situation at first, Jerry is confronted by the athlete’s concerned son who pleads with him to convince his dad to stop playing football before he suffers yet another injury. Haunted by the encounter, and for the first time in his career, Jerry is faced with the realization that his quest for the next big deal has taken him to a place he never wanted to go. A line from the movie says it best… “With so many clients, we had forgotten what was most important.”
In a moment of breakthrough, Maguire begins writing a 25-page manifesto outlining a path back to what matters most. On his list were simple things like; more attention for the clients, putting people first, actually caring and protecting the athlete in times of health or injury, and doing what is right. After years of misdirection, Jerry finally uncovers his higher purpose, and it becomes a catalyst that changes his future, forever.
Simon Sinek says “Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By why I mean your purpose, cause or belief – why does your company exist? why do you get out of bed every morning? And why should anyone care?”
Starting with your WHY is an entirely different way of doing business, and life.
The movie Jerry Maguire is a great analogy to describe the mindset shift that happened to us here at Triton Metal Products. Historically our focus was on WHAT we did, which is to provide metal fabrication services to our great customers. Centering on our WHAT as the primary motivation meant trying to do good work while continuing to grow year after year. On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable strategy, but just like Jerry Maguire we knew we were missing “what was most important.” We began talking about how we were improving the world, the discussions led to a realization that our purpose was bigger than the parts we manufactured and greater than a quest for big clients and bigger dollars. So we set out to unearth our purpose, our reason for existing, our why and then to articulate it a way that was easy for us to adopt and really get behind.
We discovered that our WHY is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. We do this with how we work together as a company, how we give back to our community, and even how we serve our customers-THROUGH the parts that we fabricate. Once we realized that “making a meaningful difference” was our higher purpose, it became a living mantra, guiding everything we do, every day and in every way.
Making a meaningful difference means the parts we fabricate for firetrucks are literally about Tritons helping to save lives. The aerial lifts we produce for another customer means we’re helping build America by supporting the efforts of our men and women in the construction industry. By fabricating parts that go into food processing equipment, we’re making a difference for small business owners and helping feed America. Our purpose aligns perfectly with our values and is centered on us becoming the difference maker with everything we do.
Discovering your greater purpose helps bring focus and direction to an organization, and it helps build a culture that is centered around the things that are most important. Making a meaningful difference is exactly why we’re sharing our experience with you today. We hope that it brings value and maybe inspires you to make a difference for your team and organization.
John Freudenberger; CEO of Triton Metal Products, located in Hamilton Indiana.
John has helped Triton Metal Products maintain an exciting growth streak through innovative process adoption and operation expansions. Catapulting growth even further was the decision to embark on a company-wide brand development project, designed to unearth what makes Triton different, and why that should matter. John’s leadership has helped “Making a Meaningful Difference” become a unifying promise that positively impacts the Triton culture, the solutions they provide for their customers, and the communities they serve.