Got back a week ago from a game-changing conference in Atlanta for the Global Technology Leadership Team at InterContinental Hotels Group. Called Fit For Purposewe focused on ensuring the team continue to be the enabling force to drive great solutions for guests, owners and colleagues. It really got me thinking about the power of purpose and reignited by passion for having a True North in your work and life. From a personal perspective being clear on your purpose gives you a BIG why. It is the reason you do what you do. It is the heart of your relationships. It is the fuel of your success. From the position of a team a purpose provides common ground and the necessary alignment to head in a shared direction. From an organisational lens a purpose is the DNA of the company. It is the core of the compelling story that attracts customers, colleagues and shareholders.
Briefly, the way to discover a personal purpose is through connecting with peak moments. You at your best. You truly fulfilled. You being in flow. What have been the moments when you have been uplifted? Reflect upon the meaning of these experiences and what they had in common. Then think about the ultimate endgame achieved as a result. A great personal purpose I heard recently was “To achieve the unimaginable”. That is certainly going to keep you going!
From a team perspective you need to discover the real value of bringing a collection of talented individuals together. Reflect upon the unique contribution of the team and why the team exists. I once worked with a commercial team who were very siloed in their different functions. I got them to write down 10 aspirational adjectives that they wanted to describe with the team. It kicked off a debate which resulted in the following purpose, “Grow revenue to grow the company.” It was a unifying factor which has led them to grow fast as a high performing team and deliver outstanding results.
In regard to an organisation you need to go back to the roots of why the company was formed in the outset. Through exploring the myths and legends of the company the purpose will emerge and the tell tale signs that you are on track include inspiration, energy, alignment and engagement. For example, at IHG their core purpose is “Great Hotels Guests Love”. It’s aspirational. It’s challenging. And it’s worth getting out of bed for every day.