Find a Purpose that has you

Purpose and strategic plan

Over the years I have been introduced to many leaders and organisations who have either brought in consultants to help them develop their strategic plan or have done it themselves using an established format. What they have in common is that their (usually long and detailed) Strategic Plan literally and figuratively “sits on the shelf”. They’ve felt frustrated that after all the work done to produce and launch it, people have disengaged and, as a result, it “sits on the shelf”, gathering dust, potential unrealised.

They then talk to a peer or other trusted contact who knows and has worked with me, and that person tells them I can help them unlock that potential. In filling this niche, I’ll highlight three things:

  • Bravery – often the missing link
  • Brevity – getting the essence of their strategy down to “one page”
  • Purpose – Strategy must link to Vision and, critically, to Purpose.

Of these, whilst Bravery and Brevity are key, without a strong link to Purpose that everyone in the organisation feels strongly connected to for the long term, all Strategic Plans will lose momentum.

Today, then sharing a short post from my esteemed and most wise friend Bruce Peters, who sent me this on reading my post yesterday on “Building Bridges for CEOs“.

Or, Let It Sit on the Shelf

“Why do you think you never looked at your plan this past year?” I asked. Rachel was quite interested in making her 2020 plan different.

“I’m not sure,” she replied. “It was almost like it didn’t matter. We could re-read it and talk about, but it didn’t seem to matter all that much.”

“That’s why purpose is so important. That’s why it is the first step. It drives the rest of the plan. Without a well-defined purpose, your plan will be uninteresting and sit on the shelf.”

“So, we really need to have a purpose,” Rachel was nodding, enthusiasm creeping across her face.

“No,” I said. Rachel’s face turned quizzical. “You don’t need to have a purpose. You need to find a purpose that has you. You need to find a purpose that has a hold on you so tight that you can’t stop thinking about it; that captures you. When you find that purpose, you won’t have any problem pulling your plan off the shelf and working it.

“Find a purpose that has you.”


Also published on Medium.

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