Thought Leadership

The Leadership Key You Need: Turning Purpose To Impact

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the meaning of the word purpose is described as ‘determination or a feeling of having a reason for what you do’. And that is precisely why, in today’s fast-paced and ever-so-competitive world, businesses are focused on achieving purpose-oriented leadership.

An article by Forbes pointed out that 52% of purpose-driven companies experienced over 10% growth compared to 42% of non-purpose-driven companies. In addition to that, a study by Deloitte showed that implementing a culture of purpose rather than that of profit growth not only builds confidence but also drives investment. The research also went on to show that these companies are more likely to find long-term success and a history of strong financial performance. This begs to question, is the purpose the key to achieving a successful business?

While an organization as a whole needs to have a solid purpose-driven culture, simply parroting your organization’s mission statement isn’t enough to lead your organization to success and riches. According to Scott Snook and Nick Craig, the scholars who ideated ‘From Purpose to Impact’, it is equally vital for employees themselves to have an individual purpose. In other words, your purpose should be something that resonates with you. This is why employees who live their purpose at work are far more productive than those who don’t. Only when you have a clear sense of who you are can you achieve your true potential.


How Do You Find Your Purpose?


Discovering your purpose is perhaps one of the most important developmental tasks for any business leader or entrepreneur to go through. Studies have shown that identifying a purpose in life is linked to greater life satisfaction. But finding your purpose isn’t always easy. It involves diving deep into your past experiences and memories to uncover your story and identify your lifelong strengths, passions and values.


Snook and Craig used the following three questions to help leaders find their unique purpose.


1. What did you especially love doing when you were a child before the world told you what you should or shouldn’t like or do? Describe a moment and how it made you feel.


2. Tell us about two of your most challenging life experiences. How have they shaped you?


3. What do you enjoy doing in your life now that helps you sing your song?


They recommend sitting with a group of trusted peers while you answer these three questions. This is because it is difficult for people to see themselves clearly without the cloud of their own perceptions and judgments.


Now comes the hard part, compressing your answers into one sentence. Sticking to generic statements isn’t enough and won’t help you in the long run, so remember to dig deep. Once you find a purpose statement that captures your true essence, it helps you see your past actions and decisions more clearly and pushes you to focus on the tasks again.


Turn Your Purpose To Impact


Legendary American Industrialist, Henry Ford, believed that there is no failure except the failure to serve one’s purpose. Identifying your purpose isn’t enough; it is equally important to lay out a plan to put your purpose to work. Actions that are driven by purpose deliver impact.


According to William Damon, author of The Path To Purpose, your purpose is akin to a chemical reaction that occurs when your skills meet the needs of the world. The best way to turn your purpose into impact is by approaching every choice and decision in a purpose-driven manner. For example, Mother Teresa discovered her passion at a young age and used it as the guiding tool for her life’s work with Missionaries of Charities established across the globe to help the less fortunate. Similarly, your purpose will help you achieve and stay true to both your short-term and long-term goals.


Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in life are the day you are born and the day you discover the reason why.” Whether it’s implemented in your personal or professional life or both, your purpose is the best driving factor to achieve everything and anything you wish.