What Is Your Purpose?

Did you see the Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller? It was a great movie that made me think about my life and the purpose behind our CEO Peer Groups with Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas.

mitty purposeIn the movie, there is a scene where we see the Purpose Statement of Life Magazine on the wall and later we see that Walter Mitty was able to recite it with a passion;

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

As the leader of your company, you have the opportunity and responsibility to set a clear purpose that others can follow. The following questions may arise as you consider the role of purpose in your leadership, organization, and life:

  • Is there a value in having a purpose?
  • Do you have a purpose?
  • Does your leadership model your purpose?
  • Do your customers experience your purpose?
  • Does your team understand your purpose?

To dig deeper into each of these questions, read some of my additional thoughts on the topic of What Is Your Purpose?

About Robert Hunt

Robert J. HuntRobert Hunt is the Forum Leader and Business Partner for Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. His role is to find the best members for CEO Peer Groups, then lead each meeting so members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn,  Google+Twitter, and Facebook.

Vision: Purposeful or Pitfall

The March Authentic Leadership Dallas lunch meeting will be focused on vision. We will meet on March 25, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm, at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel. Please RSVP on our Meetup page; you can find directions and other details there. We meet in the restaurant.

There is always a lot of chatter about having vision. Is vision important for individuals? Is vision vital for organizations?

Vision delivers a line of sight forward. More than this, vision creates a picture of what a possible future can look like. Even with a reasonable vision, some companies may not fully realize their desired endpoint while others may die in their vision. For example, Kodak had a vision yet the market passed them by.

The focus of our leadership lunch conversation will be centered on the value and pitfalls of vision. Some suggested reading to ignite your thoughts are highlighted below.

Vision: Purposeful or Pitfall

Guiding Growth: How Vision Keeps Companies on Course. Key Quote: “Typically, visions are not far-reaching enough, not big enough. Often, a vision is so generic that people cannot latch onto it, they can’t feel it in their heart and gut. And even when there’s a good vision, it’s guaranteed to fail miserably if senior management doesn’t walk the talk.”

What The Heck Is Wrong with… Mission and Vision Statements? Key quote: “From what I see, mission and vision statements are often a muddled stew of goals, values, aspirations, philosophies, strategies and descriptions. So, before I share with you some of my favorite ‘good’ examples, let’s just be clear about the difference between a mission and a vision statement:  A mission statement articulates the purpose of the company, basically why it exists, what it does and for whom. It should serve as an ongoing guide that spells out what the company is all about. The mission should focus on the here and now. A vision statement outlines the goals and aspirations for the future. It creates a mental picture of a specific medium-term target and should be as a source of inspiration….”

Do Your Mission and Vision Statements Fit Their Purpose? Key quote: “Extrinsic rewards and motivation produce short-term focus and thinking. This is not to say it is wrong or bad, but you need to notice it and manage those rewards around the appropriate outcomes. You also need to connect to long-term horizons, a place where people can locate themselves inside the story, be autonomous and design strategies for personal growth and purpose. A vision and mission will help them.”

Write a Vision Statement that Works. Key quote: “A good mission or vision statement is just that, a statement of a vision – a look ahead into the future.  A vision statement is an articulation of a view of the world that your company and your people are working towards, not what they are expected to do now.”

Why Startups Need a Strong Vision. Key quote: “You can’t base your company around current technologies, trends, or other companies. It’s about what you are doing for your customers.”

How to Create a Shared Vision that Works. Key quote: “In this last step, each team member identifies specific goals and actions they will personally take that demonstrate they are living the vision right now, even as they continue to develop the vision and work out the details. When they share their goals, they should also explain what they need from other team members for support. This is one of the most powerful steps in the process.”

Leading Conversation Agenda

Our meeting agenda is:

  • Forty-five second introduction: What do you want people to remember about you after the meeting? (10 minutes)
  • Question 1:  In the organizations you have been involved with, have all of them had strong visions? Is there a difference between organizations with strong and weak visions? Is there a difference between organizations with a vision and without a vision? Share your experiences. (20 minutes)
  • Question 2:  In your experiences, what has worked (or not worked) in getting a group of leaders to agree on a vision for an organization? What process have you used to develop a strong vision? (20 minutes)
  • Wrap-up: Leadercast updates and areas of assistance, May 9th.

If you haven’t registered for Leadercast on May 9th, please consider joining us to energize your leadership skills and spirit!

Lead Ahead: Week of February 10, 2014

Purpose is embedded in many things and leadership is definitely one. When purpose blooms in the way you lead, wonderful outcomes unfold. In looking at what leaders from Authentic Leadership Dallas and Lead Change have been writing about, purpose seems to be at the top of the list.

Before diving in to the various leadership insights below, please take some time to read about Leadercast and consider registering to join us on May 9th. Early registration is open, and we hope you will join us.

3 Steps to Elevate Your Purpose and Maximize Your Impact by Mike Henry. Key quote: “What is an elevated purpose? My definition of an elevated purpose is one that creates great value for others. An elevated purpose isn’t one that benefits only us. In the end, our legacy will be what we did for others.”

Break Free from Inertia & Live on Purpose by Allison Rimm for People Results. Key quote: “Your personal mission is where you can use your talents and passions to address a need in the world – it’s as accessible and profound as that.”

Are You Pushing People Up? by Tal Shnall. Key quote: “No matter how much potential your business has, how good your products and services be, the most important aspect of your business that will yield success or failure is whether your people are motivated and inspired.”

Empower Innovation with Millennials by Jon Mertz. Key quote: “No matter if Millennial or Boomer, many individuals would leave organizations that block innovation, don’t listen, and create barriers to creativity and eventual new sources of profit, along with discouraging ways to improve our communities. The time is now for leaders to embrace a higher purpose for their organizations and encourage collaboration between generations to innovate for better products, services, profits, and a betterment of society.”

Lead with purpose. Lead well in the week ahead!

Leadership: Simon Sinek

Leadercast is bringing together many interesting and insightful leaders. Simon Sinek is one of the speakers in the Leadercast line-up on May 9th. Highlighted below is an interview between Chris Taylor of Actionable Books and Simon.

Leadership and trust with Simon Sinek from Actionable Books on Vimeo.

Enjoy learning from this engaging interview and explore Leadercast and join us in Plano, Texas, on May 9th.

Culture and Lessons Learned: Building and Learning

The December Authentic Leadership Dallas lunch meeting is almost here. We will meet on December 17, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm, at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel. Please RSVP on our Meetup page; you can find directions and other details there.

Organizational culture is known yet challenging to engage in a conversation, so our leadership conversation will focus on how you would convince someone to pay more attention to the organizational or team culture being developed. What is your elevator pitch on the need and value of corporate culture?

To help prepare, highlighted are two articles on organizational culture to read through.

What Is Organizational Culture? And Why Should We Care? Key quote: “While there is universal agreement that (1) it exists, and (2) that it plays a crucial role in shaping behavior in organizations, there is little consensus on what organizational culture actually is, never mind how it influences behavior and whether it is something leaders can change.”

Six Components of a Great Corporate Culture Key quote: “But what makes a culture? Each culture is unique and myriad factors go into creating one, but I’ve observed at least six common components of great cultures. Isolating those elements can be the first step to building a differentiated culture and a lasting organization.”

And, as this year comes to a close, taking a moment to reflect on lessons learned is always important. We will take time to learn from each leader in our community.

Looking forward to continued engaging leadership conversations!

Meeting Agenda

Our meeting is:

  • Forty-five second introduction: What do you want people to remember about you after the meeting? (10 minutes)
  • Question 1: What is organizational and/or culture? How do you explain the importance of culture to someone? (20 minutes)
  • Question 2: What lesson or insight did you learn from a setback or challenge? What lesson or insight did you learn from a success? (20 minutes)
  • Wrap-up: Next meeting and Leadercast in May.

Thank you!

Lead Ahead: Week of December 9, 2013

As Dallas begins to thaw this week, it may be from the sparks of calls to act more fully as leaders. Writers from Lead Change and Authentic Leadership Dallas amped things up and rightfully so. There is a leadership gap present, and this gap may be growing, unless we do something to step up in how we lead. As you read through the key quotes and click-through to read the full posts, it may be time to ask:

What can I do to become a more engaged leader and lead in a more purpose-driven way?

It is time. Lead well in the weeks ahead!

How to Lead Without Authority: 4 Easy Strategies by Krista Kotrla. Key quote: “Step up. Speak up. And brave up. Embrace responsibility even if you are faking it at first. Is it really fair to expect people to follow you and trust your ideas if you seem unsure of yourself or unwilling to accept full responsibility? Ask to take on new projects. Dream up a new initiative. Mess up, own up and describe what you learned from the experience. Try again. Deliver. Get results.”

Coherent Leadership by Mike Henry. Key quote: “We are coherent when our actions line up with our words, when people can understand what we’re trying to do and when we are sincere and uncomplex. Our actions will align with our most basic, primal leadership principles.”

How Leaders Create Positive Change? by Tal Shnall. Key quote: “A transformational leader focuses on positive change to help others to look out for each other, to be encouraging and harmonious, and to look out for the organization as a whole. With this leadership mindset, the leader enhances each person’s talent, morale and performance of his followers through positive change.”

Nelson Mandela Lead from the Back of the Room by Patti Johnson. Key quote: “Richard Stengel, editor of Time magazine, spent years interviewing Nelson Mandela and collaborated with him on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. In an interview with Voice of America, Stengel said, ‘Lead from the front is the more conventional kind of leading that we know—getting up on the podium and giving a speech or saying follow me. But leading from the back is a different idea.’ Nelson Mandela embodied this idea of leading from behind. He provided the example and the values and let others lead.”

Craving Leadership by Jon Mertz. Key quote: “The real answer to address the leadership craving is this: All generations of leaders need to be engaged. The only way to solve the leadership challenges is by working across generations, understanding perspectives, and sharing experiences. By reaching across generations, we will close the leadership gap and enter a new era of trusted, engaging leadership.”

Are you ready to lead more completely?

Lead Ahead: Week of October 28, 2013

From Authentic Leadership Dallas and community writers, the focus is on culture, purpose, change, and trust. All are critical topics and elements to embrace as a leader. Enjoy reading what is front-and-center for these Dallas-area thought leaders.

What Does a Content Marketing Culture Really Look Like? by Krista Kotrla. Key quote: “The truth is, a content marketing culture isn’t all about marketing. It is actually about serving your customers better and finding new ways to make a bigger impact. It just happens to sound a lot like marketing.”

How Leaders Create a Culture of Purpose by Tal Shnall. Key quote: “Great leaders take the time on a daily basis to have conversations about the company values and beliefs. Leading a culture with purpose is about connecting the message and the messenger to the culture. People want to feel connected to the overall mission, values and sustain positive relationships with their customers.”

What’s Your Next Big Thing. 4 Hints from Watching Samsung by Patti Johnson. Key quote: “Our customers, clients and partners need to see that we have new ideas to make their lives better too. You can introduce countless wonderful, new tools, features or programs, but unless the user or customer sees why it matters, it will come up short.”

Trust Principles for Creativity and Innovation by Jon Mertz. Key quote: “Just as trust is central in all of those things, it is also needed in creativity and innovation. Trust takes on a new role of being self-centered and community-centered. By embracing trust in his manner, it removes barriers and enables extension across boundaries, especially generational ones.”

Lead well in the week ahead!