You know Kevin as a Purpose Guy (or Guide) – that’s what this show is about, after all, but today he talks about how sometimes the pursuit of purpose isn’t actually all that easy. His pursuit of purpose often means plowing through or persevering through problems. Sometimes many. This episode is all about helping you navigate through the maze of purpose. All of these problems and their solutions can be useful in your personal life – but the main focus is going to be how purpose applies to business.
Listen to the full episode:
The Bottleneck Problem – there are all sorts of different shapes of bottles – but the neck is always at the top. Similarly, with purpose in businesses, the problem is at the top – people perceive purpose as the privilege of the few rather than the many. Often, many employees in an organization feel disconnected from it, and it is the opposite of how it should be. When every person in an organization has a purpose, they are mobilized in many ways.
The World Peace Problem – or the beauty pageant problem. If you have to look at the entire world and all the problems in it – thinking about how to move forward is paralyzing. The problems are so big, and the pursuit of purpose within that is so grandiose. We want to make our purpose granular, and actionable. Kevin shares some strategies on how to make purpose closer and more personal.
The Plaque Problem – when purpose is enshrined on the walls, but never seen in the halls. You see this when company discussions of purpose are all about PR, and not about actions. This filters down to how team members think about purpose. Kevin talks about the worst version of this – purpose-washing. Purpose should permeate the environment, and be a part of every day’s activities, rather than just the marketing departments.
The Megaphone Problem – this is when purpose is more talk than walk, something we’ve all seen, unfortunately. The solution is to start *doing* it before you start telling people about it. Put your plans into action, and then talk to people about how they’re experiencing it.
The Rainbow Problem – you see this problem come up when purpose is seen only as a dream, and not a reality, or something you can see in the abstract – but isn’t tangible. This is hard for people to connect with individually – it seems like something impossible to achieve. Kevin talks about how you can bring purpose into the day-to-day by breaking it down into something more actionable.
The (Jackson) Pollock Problem – when purpose is too abstract and open to different interpretations in your organization. Kevin points out that while everyone should have their own understanding of purpose when it’s too abstract, people can’t work towards the same goal. Put purpose into practice, instead.
The Marshmallow Problem – when purpose comes up at special occasions – but has no impact on the rest of the year. Purpose needs to be substantive and transformative – the main course rather than the appetizer.
Kevin talks about how these problems, when taken together, can make purpose something that gets eye-rolls and lip-service rather than the immensely powerful tool it is. There are concrete ways for your organization to use and take advantage of purpose, and when purpose permeates your organization, everything you’re trying to achieve becomes possible.
Right now Kevin is available to work with a select number of organizations as a Strategic Purpose Partner and Advisor, to help them identify, experience and enjoy the results that are possible. Call 678-744-5111, or email Kevin@higherpurposepodcast.com to put purpose to work in your organization.