Why organizations need purpose to stay successful in the long run

Certain words have a peculiar hold over the human imagination. Words like love and hope are good examples. And so is purpose. 

The difference between a life well lived and one which is substandard is the difference between having a purpose and not having it. This is not just relevant for individuals but also for organizations.




Arriving at true purpose demands suspending old ways of judging things

One of the most powerful, and paradoxical things about purpose is its nature to transcend the personal even when it’s in your own self that you would have to find the sense of purpose. For instance, more often than not, you are bound of work harder if something bigger than yourself is attached to the endeavor.

Some of the most highly motivated individuals are those who work for the betterment of their families and also soldiers who have the ideal of the nation- something higher than them- in mind while they serve. 

Organizations and purpose- both for the long run

Not only does a purpose functions as a source of motivation, people thus motivated tend to stay focused and hard working for longer periods as well. To return to our aforementioned examples, it’s hard to conceive of someone loving his family to suddenly stop working for them one fine day for no reason at all.

Similarly, a patriotic soldier to resist from entering a battle field is unheard of. In fact, one often comes across accounts of brave soldiers wilfully entering battle grounds even when they are faced with tremendous adversities and low chance of survival.

This aspect of purpose being a source of motivation in the long run is of especial interest to organizations.

Organizations are started not for a short run- not unless you are a spurious operator. Even if you hope that the organization gets acquired by another entity somewhere down the line, you would still want it to continue in one manner or the other.

This means that the person(s) involved in setting up and running the organization, as well as those who work there all have the benefit of being purpose-driven.

For it’s the marathon and not the sprint that an organization is looking at. 

Finding purpose in your True Personal Vision

Surely, something without which an organization could reach its full potential is worth having. But the problem is that purpose couldn’t be constructed. It could only be discovered within oneself.

And this discovery rarely happens on its own. A safe and conducive environment should be present for this journey into the core of your own self- towards the discovery of something that’s essential.

This essential element is your True Personal Vision, the one overarching purpose which could only be found in your own self. In fact, it could be said that the singular nature of one’s vision addresses a person’s individuality to a great extent.

When a leader of an organization realizes his or her True Personal Vision, s/he is a motivated person. And this motivation is much more than what may drive them on in the pursuit of short-term goals. The vision is a perpetual inspiration and offers the perfect mental framework within which s/he could conceive plans to reach that vision.

So, how does this vision help an organization?

For one thing, the leader’s vision could be the destination towards which the entire organization could move. This also helps the leader keep his team members motivated towards reaching that destination, imbuing the whole workforce with a purpose.

Collective purpose with Compelling Shared Vision

While True Personal Vision is purpose on an individual level, the adoption of which could put an organization on a better trajectory, vision is not a prerogative of the individual.

Collective vision could also be important. In fact, in organizational contexts, the lack of collective vision among teams could mean poor team performance at best and chaos at worse. The way to tackle this is by helping the team members discover their Compelling Shared Vision.

Compelling Shared Vision is the shared goal towards which the entire team should proceed. Much as the True Personal Vision is discovered within oneself, Compelling Shared Vision is to be discovered from among the team members.

One common mistake that managers and team leaders tend to make when they try to imbibe a team with purpose is that they confuse a purpose with a short term goal or target. The latter is important but it should be understood that they are a managerial tool and not anything more.

A compelling shared vision, on the other hand is the strongest purpose that a team could have. What makes it even better is that since the vision is born from among them, they are self-driven to achieve the same, resulting in realizing a leader’s dream: a team that functions on its own, with team members making the necessary innovations to keep moving ahead.

So, how does one help teams discover their Compelling Shared Vision and individuals their True Personal Vision.

Temenos Vision Lab or TVL is a unique session developed by Temenos+Agility for the same. Developed based on 25 years of business consultancy experience and psychological insights, with TVL, some of the best transformation coaches in business help guide you to your vision, your true sense of purpose.

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