Once clearly understood, a purpose can have quite a profound impact on moving people. It speaks to reason, it can answer the question “why” and, most importantly it very often is the real impetus behind meaningful change.
Dan Pink, in his book “To Sell Is Human”, refers to a variety of studies conducted whereby individuals who were aligned with a clearer sense of purpose out performed those who did not. He also claims that where there is a personalization attached to a purpose, it motivates people to action in a much speedier and effective manner.
Organizations, as we know, spend considerable time gaining clarity around purpose in what becomes known as their Mission Statement. However it often fails because it is typically an all encompassing set of words that most cannot relate to and more specifically, it’s not personalized. Therefore to be more effective, leaders should consider fragmenting their Mission Statement in a manner that employees can relate to. Then they are more likely to rally behind and spring into action.
Similarly as coaches working with clients, a key part of the coaching process is to establish the purpose. This very often involves a series of questions that help peel back the layers of the onion to get to the core of what really matters. Once this is established, then a different level of engagement and enthusiasm ensues. It is at this point that responsibility emerges and effective action can take place.
Purpose can manifest in many ways. Asking why 5 times, conducting root cause analysis, asking empowering questions, providing insightful listening are all tools used to establish this key and fundamental element in the process of change.