Calling a purpose, as distinct from striving to reach a purpose, is a compelling approach to bringing promise into reality. In organizations, a purpose tends to appear as an abstract ideal that graces boardroom walls, annual reports and screensavers and is removed from the lived reality of the people who work there. A purpose is not an objective or an end goal that we are chasing down; it is a process of unfolding and having clear markers that people orient to. A purpose is not “out there” somewhere we are not; it is in each moment. An important task of leadership is creating a clear, shared, and meaningful purpose in the present.
Calling purpose to you involves paying attention and aligning to what is important — I call this a “Zenith orientation” that puts purpose on the visible horizon. A clear sightline to a Zenith orientation requires us to look up and see the higher potential for creating the future in the present. During difficult times, we need to have our guiding stars about what is really important, so we can stay on track even if we are in unfamiliar waters or feel we are surrounded by darkness. A purpose thereby becomes a vehicle through which individuals can actualize their potential. Peter Senge and colleagues (2004) propose that “when people in leadership positions begin to serve a vision infused with a larger purpose, their work shifts naturally from producing results to encouraging the growth of people who produce results.”
Personal purpose is linked to wellbeing, meaning and happiness. Read the full blog
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