Knowing why we do what we do in our life is such a fundamental for me that I find it hard to comprehend why purpose isn’t one of those 101 subjects that form part of parenting and school curriculum. And I guess it does in some ways, but maybe most of us have to have some life experience behind us before we can really get the power of exploring and connecting with the deep inner fuel that clarity of purpose brings us and, by extension, others that we interact with.
So if I accept that it may need to be a ‘later in life’ thing, I still don’t understand why it’s so hard to find this topic on the MBA or the leadership development curricula. My point being that understanding and connecting with our ‘why’, our purpose, provides such a foundational basis for our ongoing integrity and authenticity that it strikes me as a core focus for leaders to explore and understand.
Especially when you consider that its power within an organisational context can be extrapolated exponentially. Imagine an organisation where there is a clear organisational purpose, each team (functional and matrix) has clarity of purpose, the leadership cadre as a whole has defined its role and purpose in a cross functional, cabinet responsibility way, and then each and every leader also has clarity of personal purpose. And then imagine these all in alignment – what powerful energy this would inject into the goals and ambitions of the collective organisation.
Is it all as easy and straightforward as that though? On the one hand yes and of course on the other hand no. Choosing to put clarity of purpose front and centre within the leadership agenda requires the willingness to take time and bring one’s whole self into the exploration and to be willing, if needed, to face the consequences of misalignment without making that a negative thing. For example, it can become quite revealing for individual leaders as they examine their own purpose and realise that actually they will make a far more powerful contribution somewhere else entirely. This is to be celebrated even though it can be tough.
And yet, despite the fact that we have a way to go before the teaching and understanding of the power of purpose is a core component of our education system in its broadest sense, we do thankfully have some examples of organisations that are courageously, and with pioneer spirit, choosing to embrace the power of purpose. Is yours one of those?