In the ever-evolving landscape of work, the concept of purpose has taken center stage. Recent discussions, fueled by the challenges brought about by the global pandemic, have highlighted the phenomenon of the “quiet quitting” or the great resignation—a mass exodus of individuals from organizations, driven by a perceived lack of purpose. It’s evident that purpose holds significant sway, not just in our personal lives, but also in the professional realm. However, let’s delve deeper into the essence of purpose and explore the idea of purposeful action.
The Myth of Constant Purpose
To understand purpose, it’s important to debunk the myth that every daily task at work must be filled with purpose. In reality, that world doesn’t exist. My personal connection with purpose began at the age of five, marked by my aspiration to become a fighter pilot—and that was a 16-year purpose.
Over the years, my significant life purpose has evolved through various phases, each bringing its own set of transformations. Interestingly, it wasn’t a daily pursuit but rather a guiding force that shaped my actions. This overarching purpose propelled me to engage in purposeful actions, where every endeavor was geared towards achieving that central objective. In the context of organizational leadership and individuals seeking purpose, think of it as guiding them toward purposeful endeavors.
Shifting the Focus to Purposeful Action
Rather than obsessing over a perpetual sense of purpose, the key lies in cultivating purposeful action. Research consistently shows that purpose-driven individuals tend to outperform their counterparts. The nuance here is recognizing that purposeful action doesn’t always evoke intense emotional responses or inspiration. It is about understanding the reason behind our actions.
Creating Purposeful Action
To instill purposeful action within teams and organizations, leaders should foster a collaborative environment where team members actively contribute to the desired outcomes. At the onset of a week or the initiation of a new project, collaborative efforts between leaders and team members can set the stage for purposeful action. By involving team members in creating action plans, the crucial question of “why” is addressed upfront.
Weekly Check-ins as a Catalyst
Implementing purposeful action within a weekly or bi-weekly cycle helps maintain momentum and focus. This approach transforms traditional meeting cultures, where updates dominate discussions, into more dynamic problem-solving sessions. Rather than spending time rehashing events, teams can focus on resolving issues, fostering collaboration, and collectively moving forward.
Purpose vs. Purposeful
While long-term purpose provides a broader horizon spanning years, being purposeful offers a more immediate perspective, measured in weeks and days. Perhaps, it’s not an overarching purpose that teams seek; instead, they yearn for the opportunity to engage in actions that have a clear and meaningful purpose.
In the quest for a fulfilling work and life, the emphasis on purpose remains undeniably significant. However, by shifting the focus from a constant overarching purpose to purposeful action, individuals and organizations can cultivate a sense of direction and accomplishment. Creating an environment where teams actively contribute to the “why” at the beginning of each endeavor paves the way for purposeful actions that drive success and fulfillment in both personal and professional spheres.