Finding your purpose is badass

Without purpose, you can’t build a resilient team, business, or organisation

3 min readFeb 9, 2022
Photo by Fer Nando on Unsplash

Rains fall, plants grow, and creatures thrive.

It’s easy to forget that in between the periods of tranquillity on Earth, there were mega-tsunamis, massive volcanic eruptions, and giant meteors that put life on the brink of extinction.

And yet, I‘m complaining about all the snow I need to shovel these days.

All sound systems are driven by a purpose.

And although the rain and the storms are easier to see, these processes alone don’t make the system resilient.

The strength of a system comes from its purpose.

Take the Climate Crisis. Dry places are getting drier, cold places are getting colder, and there are violent and sudden changes in the environment.

But a well-designed system doesn’t create chaos for its own sake.

The same purpose drives this chaos: to keep the planet alive and thriving.

The new state might look different, but it will deliver on this purpose.

Like this pandemic.

Since the start, we’ve been obsessed with the ‘new normal’.

And whether it’s delivery services or focusing on personal well being, those with a clear sense of purpose have fared better than others.

But people pay little attention to the purpose of anything.

And why should we when it’s so much easier to see the processes at play and so much more rewarding to tweak them?

Without a sense of purpose, we risk optimising the chaos.

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

Lewis Carrol

But remembering your purpose when you can’t see past the end of the week isn’t easy.

And it doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times I write that quote on post-its and stick them to my monitor.

So, I came up with a method that works for people: a process for sticking to your Purpose.

I call it the Hierarchy of Goals, and I’ve built my business operations around it.

Hopefully, it will help you too.

My Purpose-Driven Operating Model

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Break your Purpose down into a clear and specific hierarchy of goals. Hierarchies will help you prioritise in uncertain times.
  2. Commit resources and money to get your most important work done. A discussion isn’t a decision unless you commit resources to it.
  3. Make it possible for people to do the most important work by removing non-essential work from their tables or automating it.
  4. Performance management is a leadership responsibility. Don’t leave it to chance. Don’t stop at setting sales targets. Create opportunities for them to learn and experiment as well.
  5. Innovation needs to be purposeful. Regularly bring people together to solve important problems and innovate.
  6. Amazing things happen when we work together. And the only way to perform better is by setting bigger, better, and more challenging goals on an organisational level.