Why purpose is so important right now

Emma Egan

When a disaster happens it’s really easy to go straight to triaging technical things like policy, process and enforcing regulations. Who would thrive long term with that focus?

We need to have a really clear reason to exist right now – purpose! This will help us stay focussed and moving forward.

Keeping people moving in the same direction is easier when we are all together, however, things change when we are dispersed. Imagine a sheepdog directing a herd over zoom! So how do we bring it together when we are dispersed, this is the perfect time to redefine purpose. We need that flag to find to bring us into a common trajectory. This will give you and your team a benchmark to work off. It is critical that you are clear at a personal and team level aligning with organisational goals.

At this moment especially if you’re a small business or start-up this the time to further define your purpose. In context, from a team perspective purpose is a fractal of the larger purpose – think about what you are contributing to on a greater level. Start with the question “why am I here – what does my role contribute to the organisation” get clear about your role and what it does. Then apply those questions from a team perspective.

Get your team together (over video of course) and get drafting. Don’t use jargon, be specific, make it very authentic to your team. You want to be able to read the purpose, know what you’re there to do and the reason that your team exists in the organisation.

It’s OK if the firm’s purpose is aspirational, a beautiful set of inspirational words that adorn the walls of your organisation designed to uplift and motivate, this purpose for your team doesn’t have to change the world, think about the outcome you are working to achieve. For example as a HR team – “make our employees feel human, everyone matters” or “treat our people like rockstars” you need to create a great employee experience so that when things do start going back to normal – you will have an engaged workforce that won’t jump at any other opportunity that is presented to them. Even if you have to deliver tough messages, do it with empathy.

It can feel vivid and funny, as long as it’s true and outcome focussed.

When you have your purpose sorted, then look at objectives and goals for this new normal. This is even good practice even when we are not in a global pandemic. Do the right thing – be human and adaptive 🙂

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