Make work meaningful with the Inspired Purpose Group

Aligning the Leader’s Purpose with the Business’ Purpose

The power of purpose as a central component for business success has been well documented in many business books.

Four of our favorites are:

Lead with Purpose: Giving Your Organization a Reason to Believe in Itself; by John Baldoni

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action; by Simon Sinek

The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win; by Dave & Wendy Ulrich

It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose; by Roy M. Spence Jr.

It is pretty easy to call to mind businesses that are a strong reflection of the purpose of their founding leader(s). Think Steve Job’s and Apple. Or Blake Mycoskie, the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS shoes. Or Tony Hseih, founder of Zappos. Or John Mackey and Whole Foods. The list of purpose-driven business success stories is long and getting longer. Purpose driven business is at the core of both Conscious Capitalism and The B Team, two global movements dedicated to helping create the next wave of conscious businesses based in higher purpose and shared values- businesses that put people and planet alongside profit.

At the Inspired Purpose Group, we believe that purpose is innate. It already exists in both individuals and collectives. Our job as individuals is to discover our purpose so that we can more fully express it. If we are the leader of a business or other organization, our job is to discover the innate purpose of the organization, and then align our own purpose with that of the organization we lead so that we might flourish as individuals within our organizations. This alignment is a deep-seated yearning that we all share. Steve Jobs himself reminds us of that in his famous 2005 Stanford Commencement speech:

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

As a leader of an organization, you will find more meaning and satisfaction when you closely align your personal purpose with that of your organization. That same process will also lead to greater success for your organization and everyone who works with you in pursuit of your organizational purpose. Here are five questions to reflect on that will help you more closely align your purpose with that of the organization you lead:

1.       What do I want my leadership legacy to be?

2.       How can my special gifts best serve the purpose of this organization?

3.       When I am at my best, who am I being?

4.       How does my personal mission intersect with the organization’s mission?

5.       What aspect of my work do I find most meaningful?

As you begin to reflect on these questions, pay attention to how you feel. Which questions were easy to answer? Which were difficult? Is the answer to any one of them more important to you than the others? Do any of them evoke a desire to change how you spend your time?

In our coaching and consulting work we find that nearly everyone can find ways to structure their work in ways that are more purposeful. This is especially true of senior leaders. In fact, finding ways to help people leverage their strengths and serve their core values, while keeping their career objectives in proper alignment with the organization’s strategic objectives is one of the central tasks of top leaders. And that central task needs to start with you.

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