Why Leaders Need to Focus on Purpose
If I asked you what progress you made this year, what would you say?
You might say you met your sales goal. Completed a big project. Maybe you made a key hire. Maybe your progress was through an achievement or a set of accomplishments.
Or you might say that you learned something new. You grew in an area that you've been working on. Maybe you made progress by working towards something that didn't result in an actual thing. In fact, you may never get to that thing.
At work - and in life - you need both.
Setting a goal with a specific achievement helps you create a reality towards that thing - in the short term. Always chasing after achievements can get tiring. Boring. Or you run out of positive things to chase - and you start to chase after unhealthy things.
Setting a goal with a sense of purpose creates more opportunities for yourself and others for the long term. Read the book Grit and Angela Duckworth will tell you that the pulling force of purpose is one of the key predictors of resiliency. And, according to McKinsey, a sense of purpose can help employees navigate high levels of uncertainty and change and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the highest-value activities.
And I think we had some of that uncertainty and change this year.
It is ironic - chasing after specific things never seems to bring long term satisfaction or engagement. While chasing after a thing that you may never achieve can bring greater satisfaction and engagement.
Before you wish away 2020 or think about everything you need to accomplish next year, consider how focusing on, and creating, a sense of purpose might have helped you or your team this year. And, as you look ahead to what the new year may bring, how can you measure progress with a greater emphasis on purpose?