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Purpose. Why you should want to have it.

Everything in life should have a purpose.
"Why?", you may ask? Well, better question would be "how not"? How else would anyone find the will to do whatever one must do?

Purpose is increasingly being touted as the key to navigating successfully the complex, volatile, ambiguous world we face today, where strategy is ever changing and few decisions are obviously right or wrong. It’s even been linked to a decrease in accounts of illness in employees around the world and increase in quality and productivity.

But, what is this “purpose”?
If we take it literally, it is the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists. But, for the sake of this discussion, let’s define it as a person's sense of resolve or determination and, it also means that someone has the intention, has in mind, has a mind;

Ok. But why is this being herald as one of the key factors for the success of companies and businesses?
Take a minute and think about it: you are the CEO of your company and you have "X" employees to whom you pay a salary and give a certain amount of perks for their work. Ultimately, those end of the year finance reports stating that your company grew, will make you very happy. But do you really think that that is all that matters to your employees?

Don't take me wrong, it is of basic importance to have a trustworthy environment, salary and insurance paid for by the employer, but that only takes you so far. If I am not told where the company wants to go, how can I help it get there? How can I make my everyday work matter? In this self driven and demanding market, I do not wish to only do my best, I want to do what is right, what brings meaningful results.

Remember that your purpose it’s not what you do, it’s much deeper. It’s the why that will drive your how—the strengths and passions you bring to the table no matter where you’re seated. Although you may express your purpose in different ways in different contexts, it’s what everyone close to you recognizes as uniquely yours and would miss most if you were gone.
The big corporations are leading by example on what it is to embrace a bigger purpose than themselves as part of the company business plan: either by sponsoring one or more ONG's or to send out groups of employees on trips to remote locations in order for them to engage with underprivileged populations. It can be by making the facilities of the Company more Eco-Friendly, or it can be by promoting learning and education. By becoming an advocate for Gender Equality or Animal rights. By just wanting to make the world a happier and more meaningful place, like this CEO did.

It doesn't really matter what you choose, as long as you can make it part of the company philosophy and values and that all of your employees embrace it as if it was their own. But don’t take it from me, take it from a Fortune100 Company.

The amazing thing about purpose is that you can’t dissociate the company’s purpose from the individual's’ purpose, you are allowed - no, you are encouraged! - to bring out your personal goals and aspirations, your assumptions about the world, the industry, about what can and can’t be done, to the table and mixing them with your company’s business plan. And that individual perspective will allow to create great value and to have significant impact. Because this is what being a leader is all about: Clarifying purposes and translate them into actions.

This article was written with a purpose, and on purpose.

Margarida Colares Pinto

There really isn´t anything I don´t like. Well, except war, stupidity, and the lack of manners. And my favourite thing is the sea. Count me in if you want to change the World!

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