Leadership For The Future


As a leader are you creating a sense of purpose?

Making sure your staff understand the purpose of your organisation is crucial to getting them to stay, according to a Gallup poll at the end of last year.

So, how do you create a sense of purpose in your organisation? Here are five things you can do to create that sense of purpose in your organisations and teams.

  1. Keep it simple

Having a straight-forward goal and purpose is important.   Jim Collin’s idea of a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is well-known and helps focus on what is important.  Just to give you an idea of a BHAG here are two practical examples.   Here is Amazon’s BHAG “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”.  Everything they do from making the on-line experience one simple “click” through to their policy on returns keeps you coming back as a customer.   Google also has a straight-forward mission statement too – “To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’.   Both mission statements and goals s are succinct.

  1. Create a great working environment

It sounds obvious,  but if your staff are in a suffocating workplace environment, rather than a comfortable work place with ambient temperatures and good desk space, then it can leave them feeling lethargic and not giving their best.   Their focus, and their conversations with colleagues, is likely to be about their uncomfortable conditions rather than what they want to and can achieve for the organisation.

  1. Engage and be accountable

Getting your staff excited about purpose is one thing but delivering it is quite another.  Organisations with good opportunities for staff to contribute their ideas and share their views constructively are more accountable and means that any radical change you need to adopt to achieve your mission is more likely to be accepted. It is also important that the leaders are visible and communicating regularly with their staff.

  1. Be confident . . . but humble

According to the London Business School, the best performing companies all have an air of confidence, but this is something easier said than done.  Staff will follow leaders who are confident, or even have an air of confidence, but not those who are arrogant.

Jim Collins who wrote “Good to Great” tells the story of Darwin F Smith who took over Kimberly Clark, which back in the 1970’s was a “stodgy old paper company”.  Smith was a mild-mannered in-house lawyer and was made Chief Executive which some thought was an odd choice.  He remained Chief Executive for 20 years and in that period he transformed the company into a leading paper-based products company beating rivals such as Procter and Gamble.  Smith was described as a man who carried no airs of self-importance.

  1. Be prepared for an endurance test

There has been much written about “resilience” whether on an individual or organisational level.

When things are going well and your mission and strategy is working then all is well with the world.   Yes, it important to take advice where the strategy and plans need to change, but also be prepared to be purposeful about pushing through things that are key to the success of the organisation.