by Josh Orendi
We know that organizations that fall apart can almost always trace their demise to a deterioration of their core – People or Purpose. That’s been written about in our books. We also know that organizations that succeed almost always have a clear and inspiring purpose along with a growing and developing membership of highly motivated people. People+Purpose=Successful Organization.
But many organizational leaders struggle with having a clear purpose. For good reason. It’s hard to determine. Where do you find your purpose? Many of our organizations have a mission statement, a governing board, or even ancient text that outlines our reason for being. Purpose can start there, but it has to become more personal than that. If you don’t emotionally connect with your purpose, you probably don’t have one. So where can your purpose come from?
Purpose has parents. Purpose is birthed from two seemingly opposing forces, PASSION and PAIN. It’s time for your organization to get to know your parents.
While you’ve probably heard many people rant about the importance of “starting with why” and “finding your passion,” where do you find yours? The answer may come from purpose’s other parent. Let me explain. Rather than asking, “what do we love do to,” try asking “what really pisses me/us off?” Identifying the greatest pains of your life provide keys to unlocking passion.
Furthermore, begin to think about your Passion and Pain as cooperative rather than combative forces. In a happy marriage, Passion and Pain work together and Purpose is born from the discovery that we can take the things we love to have/do/be and focus them on solving real problems that create unavoidable pain for us and those in our community that we truly care about. Suddenly we begin seeing new possibilities, new ways to focus our time and resources, new excitement about the organization, and a new Purpose (that is often an extension of the old) empowering our membership to become empowered SERVANT LEADERS.
After birth, when our organization is no longer a selfish entity designed to meet our needs a new maturity develops. In our adolescence we find value in virtue. That is, the organization becomes a vehicle for service. Servant leadership gives people great joy because it is a meaningful way to focus their passions and resolve their pains.
For example, in 2002 Matt Mattson and I left our low paying jobs working 80 hour weeks for our fraternity’s professional staff. We left well prepared with new skills, great lessons, and libraries of memories. What we both found is that something was unsettled. There was a nagging need that wouldn’t let us sleep. It was two fold. We were literally pissed off (pain) that student organizations were not being taught how to grow and develop their membership base. We were also yearning for an opportunity to become teachers/trainers/coaches (passion). Through this passion and pain we found our PURPOSE. When our Purpose was born, it took the shape of Phired Up Productions.
As you think about creating an organization, reviving a struggling group, or taking a successful organization to the next level of excellence, remember the importance of establishing and staying centered on a firm foundation of PEOPLE and PURPOSE. You’ll recruit the quality of members that you desire when your purpose is clear. Knowing what you want to achieve allows you to know who you want to recruit. And those you’re trying to recruit will be inspired by that purpose that you want to achieve.