From Purpose to Impact

In this article, the authors present a step-by-step framework that leaders can use to identify their purpose and develop an impact plan to achieve concrete results. Effective purpose-to-impact plans use language that is uniquely meaningful to the individual, rather than business jargon. They focus on future, big-picture aspirations and work backward with increasing specificity. And they emphasize the individual’s strengths and encourage a holistic view on work and family.

numerology, numbers, patterns, purpose

Despite this growing understanding, however, a big challenge remains. Few leaders have a strong sense of their own individual purpose, the authors’ research and experience show, and even fewer can distill their purpose into a concrete statement or have a clear plan for translating purpose into action. As a result, they limit their aspirations and often fail to achieve their most ambitious professional and personal goals.

What Is Purpose?

How Do you Find It?

  • What did you especially love doing when you were a child, before the world told you what you should or shouldn’t like or do? Describe a moment and how it made you feel.
  • Tell us about two of your most challenging life experiences. How have they shaped you?
  • What do you enjoy doing in your life now that helps you sing your song?

How Do You Put Your Purpose into Action?

1. Create Purpose Statement
2. Write Explanation
3. Set Three- to Five-Year Goals
Be known for training the best crews and winning the big races:
How will I do it?
  • Make everyone feel they’re part of the same team
  • Navigate unpredictable conditions by seeing wind shears before everyone else
  • Keep calm when we lose individual races; learn and prepare for the next ones
Celebrate my shore team:
4. Set Two-Year Goals
Win the gold:
Tackle next-level racing challenge:
How will I do it?
  • Anticipate and then face the tough challenges
  • Insist on innovative yet rigorous and pragmatic solutions
  • Assemble and train the winning crew
Develop my shore team:
5. Set One-Year Goals
Target the gold:
Win the short race:
Build a seaworthy boat:
How will I do it?
  • Accelerate team reconfiguration
  • Get buy-in from management for new procurement approach
Invest in my shore team:
6. Map Out Critical Next Steps
Assemble the crew:
Chart the course:
How will I do it?
Six Months:
  • Finalize succession plans
  • Set out Sympix timeline
Three Months:
  • Land a world-class replacement for Jim
  • Schedule “action windows” to focus with no e-mail
30 days:
  • Bring Alex in Shanghai on board
  • Agree on TFLS metrics
  • Conduct one-day Sympix offsite
Reconnect with my shore team:
7. Examine Key Relationships
Sarah, HR manager

Jill, manager of my “shore team”


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