What’s The Purpose?

CEO Business and People Message: Cindy Sheridan
July 11, 2023
By Cindy Sheridan

When everything is as loud as everything else, nothing stands out.

Why do we do what we do? What are our intentions? How does our next decision really improve the lives of our members, our employees, our customers? How does it better our organizations?

As I’m working with PHCC staff to steer decisions for our association and as you’re making decisions for your business, we really need to ask ourselves some simple but crucial questions that allow us to craft our organizations’ next steps around our intentions.

Finding Purpose

The theme of this issue of Solutions magazine is “Connecting You to All Things Plumbing and HVAC,” and it occurs to me that connection and purpose are integral to each other. Purpose assumes connection, while connection is dependent on purpose. The question, then, is to give considerable thought to purpose because it can either be the cornerstone or weak link to the connection that occurs downstream from it.

To me, purpose is an intentional narrowing of focus … a way of filtering out the extraneous to better concentrate on the essence of the purpose in question. When everything is as loud as everything else, nothing stands out.

Finding Inspiration from Apple

Several years ago, Apple created a video that explained its product strategy. Designing a new Apple product requires focus, and the first thing Apple asks itself is “What do we want people to feel?” While the focus in our industry looks a little different, the strategy should be the same. Like Apple, we need to craft around our intentions.

And it takes time. The people at Apple explain that they simplify; they perfect; and sometimes they even start over … “until everything we touch enhances each life it touches. Only then, do we sign our work.”

In the video, they also share about their process: “For every yes there are a thousand no’s.” Since becoming CEO of PHCC—National, I’ve been thinking about that statement a lot – as it applies internally to improving the organization as well as its implications for improvements and growth in the plumbing, heating, and cooling industry.

Internally, I am examining what PHCC does and how it accomplishes our goals. Are the purposes of our goals as focused as they can or should be? Why are we doing something? What are the assumptions? Is the purpose driving each goal as clear as it can be?

“For every yes, there are thousands no’s” … not out of contrariness but in the spirit of improvement. The well-thoughtout and distilled purpose indisputably clarifies how to reach the desired goal.

The same is true for our member contractors. Business goals are born of clear purposes. Are you attempting to do too much? Is your focus as clear as it should be? What are the essential purposes that drive your business forward? And to better focus on them, what necessarily needs less attention? Everything simply can’t be as loud as everything else, or nothing will stand out.

The barrier – whether internally at PHCC or inside your own business – is that we all like to say “yes.” It makes us feel better, and it makes our colleagues and partners happy. But at the same time, there’s a good chance that it blurs essential purposes, if only by spreading ourselves too thin to properly focus on the areas that matter.

Cindy Sheridan, CAE is Chief Executive Officer of PHCC—National Association. With decades of association management experience – most recently as the Chief Operating Officer of the PHCC Educational Foundation – Sheridan and her team work to ensure that PHCC contractors are the best choice for professionalism, reliable products, and knowledgeable service.

Share this article: