The Pursuit of… Purpose!

defining my purpose definite purpose definiteness of purpose employee engagement employee happiness employee purpose employee satisfaction happiness individual purpose leadership leadership purpose leading with a clear purpose organizational purpose passion and purpose at work providing purpose in the workplace purpose purposeful leadership Jun 05, 2024
employee purpose

Over the years, I’ve referenced the preamble to the Declaration of Independence numerous times in articles on our website as well as lessons in our Leading At The Next Level program. Just in case it’s not fresh in your mind, I’ll share it once more here - directly from the National Archives website:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

I’ve seen numerous articles expanding on the “all men are created equal” piece; some making the case that women were indeed included and others expanding on how our Founding Fathers could have ever made such a statement while slavery was a common practice in the colonies they were attempting to transform into a sovereign nation. Since I’ve addressed both in other writings, and since I only share that here as a tie back to a leader’s responsibility to provide a clear picture of purpose for each member of their team, I want you to consider something else entirely from that preamble… What do you think those Founding Fathers pictured as “the pursuit of Happiness”?

Do you think the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for a dream of hopping on their horse at the end of an eight-hour day so they can sit back on their rocking chair, listening to some flute music while they sipped a pint of ale? I realize that’s a strange example, but it’s as close as I could come up with to driving home through rush hour traffic to flop down in the recliner with a fruity craft beer and scroll through Wastebook for Netflix on for background noise. I can’t imagine the first example fitting their vision for happiness any more than I can picture the best people on our teams today being motivated to go beyond the call of duty for the second. As I mentioned before, great people - then and now - want to be part of something that matters!

As leaders, we’re in a very unique spot where we have daily opportunities to help each member of our teams recognize how the work they do individually as well as the work we do throughout the entire organization impacts the customers and clients we serve as well as the communities we’re a part of. When we can effectively detail that impact (providing relevance) in a way they can see how each activity they’re responsible for contributes (adding measurability), we may actually create a desire to do more than rush home to the recliner; we may just help in their pursuit of purpose! But connecting their purpose to the work they do or what our organization needs to achieve will take some very intentional effort, and we’ll look at that next…