Encouraged by 1000s of Leadership Training workshops, books and sessions, I took a time to contemplate and draft my purpose.
The idea is that if you know your driving purpose, this knowledge will guide and attune all future growth. The purpose will act as a point of inspiration, a decision filter, and also an endless surplus of renewal.
Discerning a purpose requires such intense self focus that you have to process hundreds of layers of social conditions around humility and selfishness to craft it.
After feeling guilt a minute too long, I dove in and asked for the spirit of inspiration to guide these discernment process.
Here it is: Inspire passion in every person, place or organization by tapping their inherent potential.
Knowing this driving purpose adds both muscle and awareness to every situation, every professional encounter, every meeting and every relationship.
While embodying this purpose has proven instrumental to my interactions and standing in the world, having a set of methods, techniques, exercises and behavior styles empowers the purpose to accomplish its work in the world. Knowing when to apply and how to apply these tools becomes a form of situational medicine.
This lesson must be enacted on organizations that desire genuine innovation. Having a purpose means to declare an intention. Making it explicit, aspiration-rich, and transformational makes it a purpose, higher level than a strategy or even a vision.
Think of a purpose as the driving reason as to the core motivation of a firm, why it does what it does. After an organization authentically defines its purpose, then the leadership of the same organization needs to define their personal professional purposes. This way you can assure right fit, but also ensure that all the parts are doing their highest and best-value work for the whole.
Applying situational medicine to transform a person, place or culture to reach its potential takes knowledge, skill, cunning, the ability to read a room and the leadership soft skill of being able to get people to see beyond their current roles and return from this envisioning exercise with a palpable sense of potential.
Having a purpose can polarize the timid, those who don’t know why they do what they do at a philosophical level. Because each person and each culture will react differently, you have to translate the purpose to help, to meet them where they are.
By knowing your purpose clearly, mastering some tools and processes that speak to all types of people you can then apply the right situational medicine.
Innovation requires change – and change requires so many things: new ways of seeing old things, the stated intention of trying new ways to generate new value, new behaviors, meaningful conversations about change and growth, new ways of working together.
Without a purpose and a large bag of situational medicine, you are like a voyage that never sets sail. You plan, but you never pull up the anchor and embark.
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Michael Graber is the co-founder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis, Tennessee-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis. Follow Michael @SouthernGrowth