Do You Have a Core Purpose Statement?
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” – Walt Disney
Likewise, it is easy to stay focused if you know what your end goal is.
The modern corporate world demands more and more of its employees as well as its leaders. To stay competitive, an intelligent leader needs to be agile, empathic, capable of multitasking and accomplishing diverse tasks efficiently and quickly. Creative problem solving is also in high demand.
Purpose feeds focus and improves decision-making.
The world at large also demands more and more of our attention. Faced with an ever-increasing number of distractions, the intelligent leader needs a beacon, a guiding light to filter out the noise of the world and focus on what matters.
A personal core purpose statement provides an overarching definition of who we are, what we value, and what we want to accomplish.
To some, treating a person’s mission in life as that of an organization may seem counterintuitive. The concept does make perfect sense in the context of leadership development, however.
Purpose-driven Leadership Requires a Core Purpose Statement
To transform his or her organization into a successful, purpose-driven one, capable of attracting and retaining the best talent, a leader needs to be similarly purpose-driven. Beyond helping with decision-making and maintaining focus, a well-formulated core purpose statement is a necessary ingredient of consistent purposeful action.
What Defines a Core Purpose Statement?
The two main components of a CPS are core ideology and a future vision.
- The core ideology creates the basis and context of the CPS. It defines who the leader is, as well as his or her goals and core values. To set your core ideology as a leader, you need to ask yourself a fundamental question: why does your organization exist? The answer to this question should reveal to you the primary motivation behind the work that your company does. Because you are the leader and, therefore, embody the interests of this organization, you should align your CPS with that of your organization. Try to define what you do as a leader to forward the goals of your organization and why what you do is important.
- Your future vision covers your “end” goal. Defining this vision and describing what it looks like will grant you clarity of purpose.
Your CPS gives you a well-defined target in life.
The Impact of Your Core Purpose Statement
In addition to determining your core ideology and future vision, you may also want to define how you will make the world, your industry, and/or your life better—what the impact of your CPS will be. Through the first two variables, you set your contribution to the world. By defining the impact of this contribution, you close the circle of your CPS.
I cannot overstate the importance of the impact component of your core purpose statement. This “so that” component makes your CPS scalable and breathes life into it.
For example, you might make it your goal to create the most customer-centric company in the world so that through it, people can buy anything they might want online.
Or, you might want to share your legal expertise with people so that they can make better-informed decisions for themselves.
Through a well-formulated, personal CPS, you can articulate your purpose in life and your purpose as the leader of an organization. A strong, purposeful leader can genuinely and effectively inspire and empower employees. With your CPS in place, you will become a natural example for your subordinates, one that they will want to follow.
From the perspective of leadership training, focusing on creating a personal CPS that’s well-aligned with organizational goals is a sound approach. It offers trainees a structure and an end goal to what they are looking to accomplish as leaders. Much like that reservoir of positive references I have often described in my books, a personal CPS gives leaders clarity and inspiration in times of turmoil.
One of the primary goals of leadership development should, therefore, be to endow leaders with the ability to distill their values and goals into a concise and clear statement.
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