The absolutely undeniable best time to start embracing a purpose?
I talk to quite a few organizations about the power of embracing a Big Audacious Meaning. I find that there is a lot of desire to pursue a purpose. But I also find that there are a lot of excuses.
“We won’t be able to get our executive team together right now.”
“We have another initiative we need to get through first.”
There are plenty of others as well.
The point is that there is no perfect time to start pursuing a purpose. Because it is not an event. It is an evolution. Which means that the absolutely, undeniable best time to start is now.
Understanding the evolution.
Embracing a purpose is a transformative experience. It strengthens and amplifies everything you say and do.
But it involves much more than getting the head honchos together, going through a couple workshops, and scribbling on the whiteboard. Workshops are an important step in the process. But they are just part of the process. And the process shouldn't be put on hold because of perceived logistical challenges of getting the executive team together.
There is so much more that we need to do before and after we gather the executives. Here is the often misunderstood part: it is the before and after activities that really determine the success of the effort.
Before we hold a workshop, there are some important matters to attend to:
Assessing the current beliefs within the organization – we need to understand what the organization believes about itself when it comes to purpose.
Discovering the foundations of the organization’s purpose – remember, a purpose is not something you invent. It is something that is present in the organization’s DNA. It is something that we clarify.
Forming the stakeholder team that will help clarify the purpose – we need the right people to help shepherd the effort. And we need them prepped in order to optimize their contribution.
Once we have clarified the purpose, we begin to bring it into to our story and then take it out to all those we hope to serve.
Building the story - great storytelling makes our Big Audacious Meaning more than a lofty thought. It makes it real and relatable.
Planning the introduction - we need to make this special for our team members, and then do the same for everyone outside the organization as well. A great introduction can help speed the adoption of our purpose.
Creating a strategy to ensure the purpose flourishes - people need to be exposed to a idea multiple times before they begin to remember, accept, and eventually advocate for it. We need to have a strategy in order to take full advantage of the power of our purpose.
A purpose is a revolution. But it only happens through an evolution. That means it shouldn’t be framed as an event. There’s nothing worse than going through 6 weeks of intensive “purpose” activity to create a binder full of stuff that no one will ever look at.
It is a wonderful experience to go through the process. It’s amazing to witness the transformation. But it doesn’t happen overnight (or even over 6 weeks). And it never stops helping the organization evolve. But you have to start. Not with some disruptive jolt. You simply need to step in. And begin the evolution.