My last post about three types of purpose stimulated more comments than any previous post. They ranged from the power of purpose, to characteristics and how to describe it. It is one of those things we know when we have it, and yet it is tricky to describe. I agree with Phillip Crockford’s description of it as a way of being. Phillip also noted it is different than mission, which is what we are here to do.
The Power of Purpose
So why does this matter, are these just semantics? I don’t think so. I’ve been lucky to be a part of some teams that had a powerful shared purpose. In these instances we seemed to be completely in synch, almost in flow. The things we were doing were equally important to us and we did whatever was required to fulfill our mission.
One of the most inspiring and powerful examples of a shared purpose is taking place right now in Ukraine. The people across this country are completely united in the purpose to defend their country and they are willing to give their lives for this. It implies purpose carries with it a high sense of determination and impulsion to achieve the desired outcome.
Why it is Often Missing
We can easily argue that very few situations will create the level of purpose exhibited by the Ukrainian people. That may be true, but If we connect to what people truly care about we can build a strong sense of shared purpose. This point is easily missed. When people enter into a contract to perform a job, it is easy to expect them to fulfill the role to best of their ability. After all we are paying their salary. The missing point is we can achieve so much more if we treat them as willing participants who share our sense of purpose, and that is all about connecting to what they truly care about.
When was the last time you had a conversation with your team members to discuss what is truly most important to them? Did you ask them how that can be satisfied in their work?