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Blog  > What I Have Learned  > The power of purpose

07 October 2019

The power of purpose 

Never underestimate the power of purpose.  A clear and strong purpose is the driving force behind many successes.  However, more than success, it's about impact  Purpose pulls, it compels you to act, to create, to explore and discover, to achieve despite any obstacles and challenges.  

Now, let's not confuse purpose with marketing mumbo-jumbo.  Purpose is not necessarily shared externally, but it’s certainly felt.  Through every interaction, it defines the culture, informs decisions and impacts the way you treat people and generally the way you do business. 

Here's why purpose matters. 

Purpose unites

Everybody in a US airport terminal once stopped what they were doing to clap and acknowledge Veteran's Day. For a moment in time, everybody in that airport terminal was connected by a common purpose, one of service and sacrifice. Of mission over self, we before me. Everybody, albeit for a brief moment, 'got it'. 

Purpose matters

If you don't think purpose matters, try finding meaning without it. Crafting a powerful purpose is what distinguishes good companies from great companies from legacy companies. Purpose not only attracts but retains top talent. Research shows that it’s not money or profit that humans seek, it’s purpose. It’s meaning. Fulfilment. Millennials get it!  Who can blame them,  who wants to dedicate the majority of their adult life to a job that doesn't impact beyond the task? 

Purpose lures

The allure of purpose stops you dead in your tracks, allowing you to shine a light on the value and return of a task. I’ll bet you recently followed Greta Thunberg as she disrupted the conversation around climate change. Her purpose is strong, her voice has created a debate in the war rooms of most countries, and she will not allow anyone to quieten her voice as we watch from the wings, a 16-year-old fighting for the future of Mother Earth on world platforms, caring about her purpose rather than public opinion. 

A leader's obligation

For an organisation to have a clear purpose, it starts with the leader.   Defining, leading and managing purpose is a leader's daily obligation.  Consider your daily activities, how many of them reflect your purpose in your conversations? Reflect on your emails, your meetings, your thoughts.  A leader sets the tone.  A leader articulates and lives their purpose in every way,  consistently.  A leader makes crucial decisions based on purpose.  It's not the 'in' thing to do when we have time or money or are in the right mood; it's our obligation. 

Casting your vision is not easy when we are constantly in the engine room of a company.  These powerful words from Antoine De Saint-Exupery Author of The Little Prince sum up leading a vision beautifully: 

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

 How well are you leading on purpose? 


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Never underestimate the power of purpose. A clear and strong purpose is the driving force behind many successes. However, more than success, it's about impact Purpose pulls, it compels you to act, to create, to explore and discover, to achieve despite any obstacles and challenges.

Read more