I have spent many hours with clients helping them frame their purpose, what I like to call their benevolent intent. Humans long for something meaningful to commit ourselves to. Clients, customers, and employees will inevitably buy into an organization if they buy into the purpose. Having a worthy purpose is the first step to achieving great things, as an individual, and as an organization.
A case in point is Banglalink, a mobile operator I have recently been working with. Banglalink sees their purpose as empowering lives digitally. Banglalink’s purpose promises a connected future for people in Bangladesh. Given how empowering connectivity is for the economically marginalized, this truly is a monumental contribution, a worthy purpose that Banglalink employees can support vigorously.
Helping people and organizations to find something noble to commit to gives people something bigger than their parochial and egocentric concerns to aspire to. One of my earliest discoveries was that, if you really want people to push boundaries and exceed the limits of their potential, you need to give them a reason that is bigger than their own self-interest.
Helping people and organizations to phrase a benevolent intent is to enable the insight that greatness lies on the other side of making a worthy contribution. It is to help them discover what their unique contribution is and how this contribution relates back to a fulfilling life.
Behind this is a challenge. I hope to challenge people to rise above their immediate self-interest. The rampant pursuit of individualistic self-interest is destructive, not only to the world but the individual him/herself. We are at a time now in which we need to challenge each other to be more than needs-driven mass-consumers. We must strive to become value-driven problem-solvers.