A weekly roundup of the most interesting, useful and thought-provoking articles to help you be a better leader. This week we’re focusing on purpose.
Purpose-driven leadership. A step-by-step framework to help you identify a personal purpose – and execute it – that will help you become an exceptional leader.
Our take: While having a business purpose is clear for many leaders, research is showing that fewer than 20% of leaders have a personal purpose. The effect of this can be limited aspirations and more difficulty achieving goals.
Being able to articulate and, importantly, translate your purpose into action, is one of the most valuable developmental tasks you can undertake as a leader. The idea is to explore how you do your job and why – what drives the unique way you do things.
Once you’re clear on your why, you can create a statement of leadership purpose (rather than a business mission) and begin setting goals to implement it. Think about the short and long-term impacts, outline the critical steps to get there, and identify the key relationships that will be necessary.
Key takeaway: By clarifying your purpose, a sense of energy is created that can propel you to deeper meaning in the work you do, the way you lead, and affect your whole approach to life.
Our take: For those leading a team, it can be natural to get off-course when helping others solve problems, inspiring those who need motivation, and balancing those responsibilities with relationships at home.
What can get lost is a sense of purpose (and identity). When our purpose is strong, we are able to show up in the world knowing what value we bring, rather than evaluating ourselves based on the opinions of others.
Try asking yourself these questions to find out your core motivators:
Why do you wake up every morning and decide to show up? Are you motivated to give your kids a better future than you had? Are you motivated by financial freedom? Are you motivated by deep relationships and moments of adventure with those you care about?
Key takeaway: Being clear on your purpose allows you to create a life that aligns better with your values and the things that motivate you. This is a key to your own wellbeing.
Our take: In our modern world of ever-increasing options, people often find themselves waking up to overwhelm, unable to choose a direction or path. It’s the downside of so much opportunity.
We can feel stuck and unable to take action. More and more people are feeling lost and unsure of how to live the lives they want.
By exploring your purpose (what he calls your “life’s task”), you can develop an internal radar that concentrates your energy. It cuts out the myriad distractions and allows you to find direction in everything you do.
Key takeaway: Finding a sense of purpose is like a guide, directing you through the sometimes-confusing labyrinth of choices to a place where you can lead with clarity and vision.
🎧 For Leaders: Calix CEO Michael Weening
Michael Weening has relied on strategic planning and goal-centric thinking to build his career and life, spanning tenures at Microsoft, Bell Canada, Salesforce (with a stint in Tokyo) and now as the CEO of the hardware company, Calix.
His broad worldview helps him have a global perspective, which has influenced his leadership approach.
In this episode, Michael shares key insights on:
Choosing challenging and intellectually stimulating opportunities (rather than purely financial)
His philosophy of taking risks, even when they’re difficult
His decision to implement remote working in 2016, before everyone else was doing it
Every week, we share an interesting long-form piece of content to contemplate.
De Vries talks about her experience of feeling burnt out and on the wrong path. When the latest psychology magazine she subscribes to landed on her doorstep recently, she came upon an article about Life Crafting.
Life Crafting is a tool invented by Michaéla Schippers, a professor of Behaviour and Performance Management in the Netherlands. The purpose, in a nutshell, is to help people steer their life in a direction that aligns with their values.
This is done by thinking about your life through writing and thinking exercises, and setting goals to align your time with what matters most to you.
Here are the seven steps to Life Crafting:
Identify your passions and values.
Assess your strengths and areas for improvement.
Envision your ideal future across social, personal, and work aspects.
Consider the consequences of maintaining the status quo.
Specify and rank three clear goals, understanding their importance.
Develop a plan to attain your goals, identifying obstacles and strategies.
Make a public commitment to your goals, sharing them with your community.