Purpose is why we do what we do. I think it is the missing element in most organizations. Almost any organization can tell you it’s mission and vision, and a few can tell you their values, but I think those are almost worthless in their ability to drive the daily behavior of employees. Most of your employees can’t remember your elaborate mission and vision and even if they could, they can’t see themselves in it.
Purpose, on the other hand, is a powerful guide to daily behavior because purpose lives in the hearts and minds of those that serve the purpose. My purpose “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive” definitely drives my behavior. I can fit everything I do – all my missions – under my purpose.
But how you get to purpose is critical if you want it to be truly shared. Don’t take a walk in the woods with your senior leaders and some high-priced consultant some weekend and appear on a Monday morning to anoint your purpose from on high. That will be about as exciting to your employees as your mission statement. Engage your employees in dialogue and let the purpose arise from the relationship you have with them, the relationship they have with each other, and the relationship they have with your customers and suppliers.
I hope you take the time to watch the video! Listen for the cows in the background, especially toward the end. The big mountain in the distance over my shoulder and behind downtown Reno is Peavine Mountain. I live up there, and when you hear me say in a video that I am recording in Northwest Reno, I am somewhere up on “big brown.”
If you ever wondered by the colors of my website are brown, blue, white, and green, you should get an idea from the video.