Your purpose has power when you share it. I was reminded of this a few months ago during a conversation with a CEO. During our discussion, I realized I was placing more value on the clarity of purpose and less on communicating it.
This, in part, led to a realignment in my own business. I reconnected with the process purpose takes through a business and where adoption and communication become priorities. It also helped me shift the lens back to my clients and consider how I am best suited to serve them.
Recently, I started reading the book, Vivid Vision, and found myself face-to-face with the same thought. In the book, the author uses the following house example. It’s a great metaphor for knowing your purpose and sharing it with others. I made a few changes to the original but the concept very much belongs to the author.
Imagine you’re in a room with a group of your senior leaders and employees. You announce, “We’re going to build a house.” You’ve been planning for this day for months. Every morning for more than a year you’ve woken up and thought about this house. What it will look like…the materials…the finishings…how you will furnish it…how it will feel when you walk inside…the meals that will be shared there…
The day after the meeting construction begins. Everyone gets to work. Things go well, but soon people lose interest. They get side-tracked with other projects and stop taking initiative. Silos form.
You start wondering where things went wrong: you told them they were building a house, provided the architecture plans and gave them a budget for materials. The answer: You never showed them your vision. They never saw it the way you saw it.
A ‘Vivid’ Vision
The point the author is making is that vision is much more than a statement. In the book, he challenges leaders to do more to bring their vision to life. First, to create a story around what your organization will look like when that vision is achieved. Then to share it with everyone.
This idea resonated with me as it relates to purpose. I’ve learned over the years that knowing your purpose is only part of the equation. As leaders, we need to paint the full picture. We must translate the mental image of our purpose into words that inspire, then imagery that sparks an emotional connection, and then values, beliefs and behaviors. And, we can’t let up. We need to keep refreshing the paint.
In a recent post, I shared a little bit about how purpose manifests itself in the hiring and onboarding processes. The idea was that by incorporating our purpose and values into each step of the talent management process, we can find, attract and retain the right people. People who are inspired by our purpose and passionate about what we’re doing: people who see our vision the way we do.
Clarity is the first step of building an aligned business. Knowing our purpose and writing it down is the most foundational thing we can do to start bringing people together. But, it’s only the first step. We must weave it through our business and then share it boldly with others.
Take a moment to think about the house you’re building. Is your vision clear? Do people understand where the business is going and how they fit into that plan? Are they proudly sharing that vision with others?
If you’re struggling to convey your vision or the purpose of your organization, let’s chat. We can help you write your vision in a way that gives your work meaning and inspires those around you.