A Sense of Purpose

Today’s topic is one that is discussed frequently as a leadership topic, providing a sense of purpose.  I take credit for this not in my workplace, but in the work that my two son’s began this weekend. 

Allow me to table set for a moment.  First of all, they are both A students in high school.  One has been accepted to his dream college on early admission, but is keeping his options open as before he fully commits as he has a desire to play baseball at the collegiate level.  My other son is a sophomore who is definitely coming into his own personality and is very focused in his own right.  They are both focused on being successful in school, but at times it seems they are satisfied with doing enough to stay ahead of their peers.

They began assisting a family friend this weekend on a new business venture that they are assisting him with market research on.  What a better source on how social media is influencing people than with a couple of teenagers.  A great idea for my friend, plus it provide some valuable work experience that allows them not to come home covered in hamburger grease.  A win-win in my book.

Here is the leadership lesson.  They came home fired up and motivated to do well (after a 9AM meeting on a Saturday morning), not just because there was money involved, but they were talking about all the potential they saw and wanted to become part of a greater purpose.  They understood the value of what they were doing and the impact it would have on our friends business.

In our own workplace, are including in our day to day activities a way to integrate a sense of purpose into our culture?  While there are may be a variety of roles and responsibilities in our environments, are we taking the time to make sure that our teams and organizations understand the value of each persons contribution to the “why” we are in business.

I am fortunate, I get to share a story of contribution and success with the rest of the organization I work for in the morning.  Daily my team shares encouragement and stories of success with each other.  As a result, the team has a shared sense of purpose and value.  They support and encourage each other and motivate our leadership to want to do more for them on a daily basis.  At the end of the day, having the shared purpose, creates a shared vision of what success looks like, and we work on it daily.

Take a few minutes this week to recognize those you work with.  Tell stories, because you want to, not because you have to.  They will be much more meaningful to the recipient than if you are going through the motions and simply checking a box.

Have a great week!


11 thoughts on “A Sense of Purpose

  1. Communication complications are high on the list in the workplace. Ever since being a corporate trainer, I cannot tell you how many times and ways I've heard it voice. In my work the front line worker usually tells me there is a disconnect between purpose and leadership. It comes across in statements like, "This workshop, has great ideas. But nothing is going to change here. They (management and leaders) talk a good talk but that's where it ends. Whether it is lack of purpose or lack of the communication of it, or mere poor communication of it, it is missing.Over from LInkedIn group BHB

  2. Well said Mark and congratulations on your 50th post!!! Establishing a sense of shared purpose and sharing great stories can mean all the difference in the world to engagement. Celebrating the little victories as well as the big ones is another part of building that sense of camaraderie and real team spirit. I think sometimes people forget that teams are NOT built on who you are assigned to, but who you share common goals with.

  3. You are so right that having a purpose is crucial. If not, where is the motivation? Far too many people just do their job without having any interest in it and are not inspired to succeed with what they are doing. The major reason is that the majority of "leaders" are not leaders but managers and since when do managers inspire people?:-)

  4. Great post. Shared purpose shared through stories is key to engagement. I think it may have been easier in the "old days", when communication was basically only phone or fax. It sort of forced the face to face meetings and I still believe face-time nets the best results. A compromise would be go to meeting or skype.

  5. For years I worked in the corporate field and for years each business I worked for would only provide a sense of purpose one day a year conference. It was sad to see that most colleagues found they had no sense of purpose in their role therefore felt uninspired. I guess one could blame it on the bureaucratic red tape that often limited decisions for middle management. Great post – thank you.

  6. Congratulations to your sons – I'll bet you're very proud of them. Sharing stories is not only a way to support, but also inspire. Anything that spreads positive energy is well worth the effort. Although I work from home and in solitude a great deal of the time, I have a network of like-minded colleagues and friends – even if it's just an email or text, the right words can make a difference.

  7. The power of telling stories to connect people should never be underestimated, yet it is so often overlooked. The best times I remember about teaching is when co-workers would come together to share their hits and misses. I learned so much from just listening to all those stories.

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