I have taught leadership, self-mastery, strategic planning, and business management for a few years now and these topics were always part of the big picture when looking at a business. I often felt like something was missing, and it always came down to why. The why was missing. Values, another piece, provided great guidelines. The vision for the business, or my vision, did a good job in defining my world or what I have heard described as the sandbox. The mission was always what I did or needed to be done. But where is the passion? That was somehow tied to the why.
The why was my purpose, the reason for which something is done or for which something exists. Before I had any buy-in, I had to understand the why. I understood my purpose. I could say that my purpose was to realize the vision or deliver on my mission, but that did not generate much passion. When you have a purpose, you have an aim or intention in mind. I was reminded about the motto of my college, “The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who knows why will always be his boss.” I believe that was from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Before you can become a great leader, you have to have and understand all the elements (values, vision, mission, the plan, and purpose). That would be ideal, and my best guess is that if you have a conflict between these pieces, you have worse case. What happens if your purpose violates your values or goes against the plan? Many times, I have seen situations where these elements were not well understood or where there were conflicts being ignored.
The next time you are given that great opportunity find out what needs to be done then consider why. If you can understand all the elements and accept that there are no conflicts, you are headed for success.
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