Purposeful action may sound like a vague ambition or mere self-actualization — here’s how to make it a very concrete concept of daily relevance.
In a world where new solutions are at stake we cannot wait for answers to be supplied by others. It’s up to us to find our own orientation, often led by a desire to find out how we can contribute to solutions and to express the impact that we personally can make on the lives of others. Once we get into the process of meeting our purpose, clarity comes along.
I see five key concepts that make a purpose reflection crystal clear — let’s dive in.
Values are evaluative.
Values are ideas and beliefs that drive individuals to engage. In them lies the question: Is my message resonating or not? Today, we need to ask ourselves which of our values are in demand in order to make better progress in the VUCA world.
Beliefs are generalized values.
They have a filtering effect: We primarily sense what we believe. “You know how things work for us,” would be such a belief. would be such a belief. Our actions usually follow promptly. The question is: Which of our beliefs are really future-proof, enabling change?
Intrinsic motivation for work comes from the needs that are fulfilled at work.
Douglas McGregor claimed as early as 1963 that we should no longer regard people as work-shy but as intrinsically motivated and willing to perform (Theory Y). We now know: Successful collaboration hinges on our fundamental concept of humanity. Which of your needs are covered at work — and outside?
Man is a perpetually wanting animal.
Abraham Maslow: A Theory of Human Motivation, 1943
Expectations are a normal part of working together.
Expecting perfection, however, puts enormous pressure on others and can hardly be fulfilled. A purpose reflection brings clarity to questions such as: What do I expect from my work? What do I expect from my fellow human beings? Which expectations do I want to fulfill — and which not?
Competencies describe the capability to solve problems.
So, a meaningful reflective question might be: Which of my competencies are needed to find solutions in the VUCA world? One sought-after skill is to initiate change. The communicative capability to listen and to generate something new through dialogue is also growing in demand.