The Missing Piece in Purpose

Connection to greater purpose is a game-changer for company success – on both hard and soft measures.

I speak with many high functioning leaders who are purpose and values driven. Many are finding that they’re not getting the full engagement and results from purpose in their organizations.

One common cause is not fully integrating purpose into the organization. It’s not woven into the fabric of the culture and work.

The Missing Piece of Purpose

But there’s also a lesser known missing piece of purpose: helping employees discover their individual purpose.

If you tend toward the Theory Y management style, you believe that people are self-motivated to grow and accomplish. They want to self-actualize and reach their full potential.

In that case, your role as a leader is to identify and remove internal and external conditions and barriers that prevent people from growing to their potential.

That’s where individual purpose comes in. Teaching people purpose is empowering on many levels.

The Benefits of Individual Purpose

Purpose has the same kinds of benefits at the individual level as it does at the organizational level.

One of its greatest benefits is that it reduces overwhelm. This is important. Overwhelm has massive costs to both companies and individuals. You can’t do your best work from overwhelm. And you’ll struggle to fully express the person you want to be.

Purpose is one of the most effective tools for eliminating overwhelm.

For one thing, it gives your life definition. Let’s take the example of ‘success.’ Nearly everyone wants success, but it has different meanings to different people.

If you don’t take the time to define it for yourself, then you’re more likely buffeted by all the ideas of success around you. You’ll see someone accomplishing something and begin to question why you haven’t done something similar. You hear people talking about success and feel less than enough – even when it’s something you wouldn’t have interest in.

When you’ve defined success for yourself, you’re on a focused path. You know what you’re looking for and you’re less affected by the ideas and opinions around you. You can let go of things that don’t matter and focus on the things that do. You’re more able to escape conditioning.

Purpose also gives life a greater sense of meaning. You feel more empowered and connected. Less anxious. There’s more space for creativity. You have more energy, focus and clarity.

As a result, you experience more peace, fulfillment and contentment. In the workplace, that translates into engagement and more energy to put into work.

At the organizational level, improved decision-making is one of the great gifts of purpose.

That’s also true for the individual. Purpose helps you avoid stuck in the weeds of short-term and irrelevant issues and leads to better decisions.

Individual integrity also increases as people become more connected to their values. That translates into better relationships.

It also takes people out of competition. Instead of comparing yourself to others, you focus on doing better than your old self. The outcome is healthier workplace culture and less politics and bullying. When individuals are following their purpose, there’s room for everyone to succeed.

Awakening Leadership

The best way to awaken leadership in people by teaching them how to uncover their individual purpose. Once they know their life purpose, you show them the connection to the company purpose, and you have people who are naturally engaged and high performing.

There are things we all care about from feeling connection, empowered, relevant, growing, serving a meaningful purpose – essentially the elements of self-actualization. The more you help people reach those elements, the more they have to give to the company.

People want to give; they just may need some help clearing things out and connecting to their personal power to be able to do it.

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