On Purpose

February 2, 2019

You’ll read later in this issue about our LoCo Next Level speaker event held on January 30th with Zach Mercurio.  Zach is the best-selling author of “The Invisible Leader - Transform Your Life, Work, and Organization with the Power of Authentic Purpose”.  He has become a leading expert on this topic in recent years - helping people and organizations activate the guiding hand of purpose.  He is also a CSU professor, and when we met for the first time this fall it felt like we were speaking the same language in a foreign land, and we immediately began putting plans together to have Zach speak for a LoCo event.  Learn more about him here.

Oh, and if you’re wondering “what’s LoCo Next Level?” - this is LoCo Think Tank’s newest service offering - Value Driven Peer Advisory for the leaders of larger and more complex regional businesses.  You can learn more about that here.

The topic of purpose has had plenty of attention in recent years.  The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren was a book that really impacted me early in my career and marriage, Simon Sinek’s Start with Why has become a mantra for corporate teams and individuals all across our nation - and was taken up as a rallying point for my Rotary Club this season, and an article I read in a recent Harvard Business Review was titled “Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization”.  The why is all the rage these days!  

It’s a squishy thing though, purpose.  Difficult to know about oneself in the first place, and our purpose may change throughout a lifetime, or even throughout a day.  Like the 2-year who repeats the same question - “why?” and never has an answer to her satisfaction, most thinking folks have wrestled at least occasionally with defining our own purpose - and living out the daily habits that will take us to the promised land.  The challenge is even grander when applied to an entire organization.  

But it’s the secret to success in business and in life, you see, this malleable and difficult to define concept we call purpose.  The dictionary definition is accurate if not precise: “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”.  It’s easy to understand the purpose of a door handle, or a CRM system, or even a Border Collie - but when it comes to understanding our life purpose it gets a little more complicated.  Our major religious doctrines address the topic from varied perspectives and too much agreement. And yet, if the challenges of society are pinned to one major problem, a strong argument could be made for purposelessness - or worse yet, deviant purpose.  

I’ve often likened growing a small business to coaching a rowing team - if the boat is headed toward a known destination, and the coach is keeping a proper cadence to stroke, stroke, stroke - the progress toward the goal will be rapid.  But as growth occurs and milestones are achieved sometimes the next destination becomes fuzzier, the team has gotten bigger, and what really, is my role here anyway…the rowing gets choppy, the course starts to zig and zag, rough water is encountered and progress is slowed.  

That’s why connecting with your team on a corporate and individual basis is so important as a business owner.  As the leader, you need to be checking the charts and declaring the next stop on the journey on a regular basis, and engaging with your staff as to why their individual contribution is so important to the grander voyage. 

So, my encouragement is thus - check in with your purpose today, and every day.  Give yourself ten minutes of quiet time for meditation, prayer, or quiet contemplation.  Turn your phone off. Close your laptop.  Consider the things you will achieve today or in the week ahead, and how those things align with your greater purpose.  For business leaders, consider the roles that your staff have within your business, and their purpose for their lives overall.  Are they aligned? Can they be?  Are you blocking time for the most important things?  And communicate, communicate, communicate - to your employees, to your clients, and to all your stakeholders - THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE! (but don’t yell)  

Thanks for reading, and as always thanks for your notes of encouragement and your prospect referrals.  I think you’re great, and I know you’re going to have an impactful day aligned with your individual purpose. Godspeed.  

- Curt Bear

Founder, LoCo Think Tank

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