We’ve talked about goals in one of my previous articles, “The Genius Behind Your Daily Questions,” and now it’s important to look at a follow up question, “What is your purpose?”
Purpose gives you a clear direction and path to pursue, while goals are a way to clarify your daily actions. Purpose and goals link together when effectively implemented. One can spend all day focused on individual goals, but without a clear purpose toward an actual goal activity, it may be taking them in a wrong direction. Our purpose is the “Big Picture."
I learned about building a Purpose Statement from Charlie Krone (1929-2015). When Charlie was an internal consultant with the Proctor and Gamble Corporation, he was instrumental in fostering a management system at P&G’s Lima, Ohio plant, that out performed every other soap plant in the company. In my work with Charlie, he helped me think more precisely and his Purpose Statement was a gift I treasure. So, if you don’t know where you are going, how in the heck do you expect to get there?
Let’s look at a real life example of the Purpose Statement in action. Here is an example of some of my coaching work with a manager:
This particular manager struggles with micro-managing and continuously sets expectations that everyone should work just like he does, over critiquing every move they make. This coaching assignment is a distant learning project. He is on the east coast and I am on the west coast. I suggested we have a morning meeting for his team to include the General Manager, so that the entire system gets a chance to learn from top to bottom. At 9am EDT and 6am PDT we meet via phone, with their team gathered together in their conference room in North Carolina and me in my office in California. The first line of business in the meeting is the introduction, which allows everyone to share one thing that is going exceptionally well in his/her life. The next item of business is to review the Purpose Statement, because why have a meeting if we don’t understand the purpose?
The Purpose Statement contains four parts:
- What actions are we taking;
- What are the values we are using;
- What is our objective(s);
- How are we measuring whether we are moving toward our objective(s) or away from them?
Here is a draft of the Purpose Statement we are using for these daily meetings in North Carolina.
- Action Statement, To give the manager a new, practical way to learn how to manage himself and other teammates;
- Values, In a way that allows each person to become responsible for his/her actions;
- Objectives, So that work is more enjoyable, productive and profitable;
- Measurements, As measured by what each person learns, his/her attitude and the quality/timeliness of his/her work.
It is crucial we check our purpose prior to every meeting so that participants have a chance to voice questions about the direction. Work is constantly changing, so adjusting the purpose can be crucial. Remember if you want to have a better life, consistently check your purpose. Make sure you are headed in the direction you want and adjust your direction when you find yourself off-track. This is especially important for team leaders, because if you and your teammates are clear on your purpose, you will create marvelous products/services, profits and human energy. If you are not clear on your purpose you will waste lots of time, money and human spirit.