“Culture is the foundation of life and Work” –John Ruh
We all want meaning out of life. Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist that survived Auschwitz and the author of the brilliant book, Man’s Search for Meaning, said that the essence of life is putting meaning to everything, even our sufferings. Moving toward that is challenging, but one approach that helps is defining and understanding your own culture deeply. Your mission drives the “why”—why you do what you do, regardless of what it might be. One of 5 key components of Culture is mission and purpose; and developing them can open a whole new way of seeing life and reducing the stress of uncertainty and failure.
What is mission? What is Purpose?
Most people find the words vision, mission, and purpose to be very confusing. Think of mission as being in the now, being present, or your immediate focus and pursuit. In that way it is very different from vision, and for many much more practical since it can be used in business to drive action and confirm why you are on the payroll! When put in writing clearly and honestly, the mission can be a simple way to focus and energize yourself, your team and company. An example of this is the original mission statement Steve Jobs crafted for Apple: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
Purpose goes a bit deeper and if you query any group of interesting leaders and companies, you will find that what they call their “mission” is really a purpose statement. It does not say anything practical about what they do. It speaks in abstracts, and to many seems completely unrealistic or unclear. Statements such as, “Transforming people and companies”, “Creating special experiences “, “Revolutionizing our industry” are generic and unconnected to the real direction of the company. As you learn to understand culture, both mission and purpose can be derived from that cultural context and used powerfully to support and empower others.
Why Bother with this?
Please answer this question for yourself. My answers are:
- When one understands his/her mission/purpose, work takes on a whole new meaning regardless of the task.
- It is a key component of the 5 understandings of Culture. Read this.
- When understood and applied pragmatically, it can make decision making much easier.
So Now What?
You might want to think about creating a “Unique Empowering Game Plan” for yourself, your team/company built on your culture. This is our core competency, and our team of specialists can assist you at this complicated yet critical task of designing this correctly. We often find it is the difference maker taking companies and people to the next level of success and satisfaction.