In the first chapter of his book It Worked For Me: In Life And Leadership, retired General Colin Powell describes the critical importance of each person in an organization knowing their purpose. “Followers need to know where their leaders are taking them and for what purpose.”
While “mission,” “goals,” “strategy,” and “vision” are all familiar terms and important aspects of any organization’s overall focus and direction, Powell explains:
“Purpose is the destination of a vision. It energizes that vision, gives it force and drive… The purpose starts from the leader at the top, and through infectious, dynamic, passionate leadership, it is driven down throughout the organization.”
The responsibilities of a building’s janitor may include cleaning up spills and hauling trash to the dumpster. However, that janitor’s purpose goes far beyond his job description. His purpose is to make sure the building looks and smells great and that a comfortable and enjoyable environment is maintained for all who work and visit the building.
If the janitor understands how his purpose is connected to the overall vision of the organization, his work takes on much greater meaning than merely pushing brooms and tossing trash. The same is true for any worker in any position!
Powell goes on to state,
“Good leaders set vision, missions, and goals. Great leaders inspire every follower at every level to internalize their purpose, and to understand that their purpose goes far beyond the mere details of their job. When everyone is united in purpose, a positive purpose that serves not only the organization but also, hopefully, the world beyond it, you have a winning team.”
How about you, do the individual members of your team each understand their purpose and how it connects to your organization’s vision as a whole? Don’t take for granted the critical importance of helping each of those whom you lead discover and embrace their purpose!