Defining purpose is central to achieving your dreams ...

As a facilitator, I often work with clients to develop strategic plans.

The first step is to develop the organisation, or team, or even individual, vision (sometimes called a purpose, mission or a myriad of other names).

Devising strategy without a vision statement is like driving without a road map – you won’t know where you’re going, or even if you’re heading in the right direction. You certainly won’t know when you have arrived at the place you wanted to go.

As Simon Sinek says, start with why. If you haven’t already watched his Ted Talk it’s well worth investing the 20 minutes to discover the magic of the “golden circle”.

One group I worked with recently played “mix and match” – their task was to match organisation to their vision statement. It tells you a lot about a good vision statement when you can quickly match it with its organisation. And, of course, the opposite also applies - it's sometime hard to work out if the organsiation matches the vision. From this exercise, the group developed criteria for their own vision statement. They had clarity that their vision had to be:

  • Aspirational

  • Achievable

  • Believable

  • Shorter rather than longer

  • Inspiring hope in others

  • Clear

  • Contain no acronyms

Armed with this insight, they set about working on their response to this question in six words or less: “(organisation x) exists to …

They achieved this challenge. As has every group I have worked with. And usually in much less time than they expect.

Their purpose? “Inspire actions that connect people with animals and our shared environment.”. Can you guess the organisation?

Defining purpose is central to successfully achieving your goals. A clear purpose allows you to make confident and clear decisions about what you will do, as well as what you will not do. This is equally the case for organisations, teams or individuals. It’s worth investing the time to get it right.

Does your organisation have a clear and agreed purpose? What is your team here to achieve? Do you have your own individual vision? Why do you do what you do?

I’d love to hear from you about your purpose – whether it’s for you personally, or your team or your organisation. Let me know your thoughts - email me or respond on LinkedIn. Best response* will receive a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why.

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