Activating Purpose

If you’ve been around a while, you’ve probably noticed that the posts are getting fewer, Twitter more neglected and that the March (and now April) edition of the podcast never emerged despite me promising that it’ll all pick up pace. If there was ever a time to blame languishing, it would be now. But that isn’t really the reason.

Two things happened in quick succession that made me realize why I couldn’t bring myself to shake the cobwebs off just yet.

First was a conversation with a fellow podcaster. After we ambled through a discussion on several topics, I ended by asking for guest recommendations for my show. Being a tenured podcaster, his first question was ‘what is the purpose of your pod?’ Easy, I thought–to trigger deeper discussion on the most pressing topics in the world of work while having a little fun along the way. However, this answer was hardly enough. He followed by asking–‘Why do you do it?’ Uhm…. because I’m obsessed with the world of work? However, if that were true, I wouldn’t have gone quiet on the pod even if for a single episode. He continued probing till I realized that the true reason for me to work on the pod was to help improve the world of work even by an iota (as loony as this might sound). However, in light of more pressing matters, it was also the first to fall off the radar. It also helped me realize that the guests I want on the show are people who hold radical, even unpopular, opinions but have evidence to explain why they hold that opinion. It helps if they’re great orators and great conversationalists but they can be from any field of work as long as they have the enthusiasm to influence the way we think about jobs at hand today and in the future (Psst…I sent him this later to help narrow the guest list). I love conversations that revolve around how work gets done and they motivate me to do a better at my day job.

The second thing that happened was me receiving an invitation to review and collaborate on a document that discussed–surprise surprise–activating purpose. Over the next few months, I will be working on determining why purpose is important, how we help employees and teams discover it, how we communicate purpose, and how we measure impact?

The matter of fact is that none of this is new nor does anyone deny its importance. Almost every HR professional (including me) has worked on this; in either discovering their own purpose or enabling teams to discover theirs. Yet, it is the easiest to forget considering the rhythm of business and other urgent tasks. It’s rarely an everyday conversation or an easy one at that.

Thus, the focus for myself and the solution I design is ‘how to keep purpose front and center of everything we do’ and ‘how do we make it a more regular part of work life’. I don’t have the answers but I do have reading recommendations for you today if you’d like to explore it with me. As always, I will take you on the journey with me. Right now, we’ve only just begun. I’d love for you to share your recommendations and suggestions too.

P.S: Before I end, I must mention the current events happening in the world today. I debated if I should say something or let it pass; but it is hard not to. War is never the answer. My thoughts are with all those who have been impacted directly or indirectly by the conflict. It is teaching me to be thankful for everything I have and about impermanence.

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