The dictionary defines purpose as: “why you do something or why something exists”.

It’s your raison d’être.

As an organisation your purpose is the core statement of what you are there to do, in order to achieve your vision.

It’s your mini master plan.

Your purpose talks to people. It says this is what we plan to do for you and why.

If you want it to have impact, your purpose should be memorable.

Without a clear vision, purpose and values, it’s really hard to plan clearly, and communicate well.

Purpose is your compass, your true north, which guides your plans, your decisions, and determines what success looks like.

So, where do you start?

Three steps to help you clarify your purpose

1. Be really clear about why you exist
This is the part of the process that is probably most misunderstood and is the area I am most frequently asked to help with.

Your purpose isn’t about what you do, or how you do it, it’s your WHY – there is a significant difference.

The rule of ‘five whys’ is useful here. Ask yourself: “Why do we exist?”, and then keep asking: “why does it matter?” Keep asking “why?” until you truly understand the difference you make to the people you serve.

2. Live it, don’t just laminate it
Defining your purpose is not simply about designing creative posters to plaster on the walls so everybody believes you are a purpose-led organisation. Your purpose should be embedded into every fibre of your organisation. Your people, your processes, your policies, your promotional material and your performance.

3. Review and refresh
Each year we are used to producing annual accounts and analysing our performance against projections. Do you do that with your purpose? Be open, honest and transparent about the evidence. What have you done brilliantly that demonstrates your purpose, what have you learned, and how can you improve?

Being clear about your purpose is super-important, for you, your team, your customers or beneficiaries, and all stakeholders.

But don’t just take my word for it. According to Buddha: “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”

Now try our Q is for Quiz

This was a guest blog from:

Donna Okell
Prosper on Purpose