Purpose is irresistible because it’s personal

An organization wants its people to be passionate. Because passionate people are diligent and hard working and dedicated. But what does the organization give the people to ignite the passion? The leadership team retreats to the boardroom where it hammers out the vision and mission. Lofty statements emerge that talk about what the organization will accomplish and how it will do it.

Then the leadership comes down from on high to reveal it to the masses (literally - the boardroom is usually a number of floors above where the workers' office). Maybe you’ve experienced this? If so, you know the next part. The big reveal is met with a resounding yawn.

Wait a minute. What? These are our fearless leaders revealing what’s at the core of our organization. This is the stuff that’s supposed to get us up in the morning. And help us slog through the tough times. This is the stuff that reminds us why we do what we do. So why does it seem so hard to remember?

What’s missing?

We need more than declarations of what we will do. We need a why. We need meaning that feels personal and purposeful. I wrote about how a Big Audacious Meaning delivers this:

So what makes a Big Audacious Meaning different? Quite simply. it’s personal. We’re talking about how each of us will help make a difference in a life, a community, and even the world. That connection to the impact is the thing that causes that visceral reaction.

We like it when things get personal. We have a greater sense of ownership of the outcome. It also motivates us. When we have a personal connection to a Big Audacious Meaning, we’ll put in what it takes to make sure that it flourishes.

If we want people to care, we need to start connecting with those things that feel personal. Things that connect with the desire to do something with real meaning. Things that give us all a purpose.