Embody Purpose

Clara Gaymard is a woman of many talents. She is a published author, a senior European business leader and an advocate for women.

Defining the “Why” establishes the vision and creates alignment.

Your leadership journey starts the “True North” of embodying purpose—the “why” of the journey.

On every leadership journey, the “why” will be unique to each organization and its desired destination. What is universal to all is the importance that everyone understands that specific “why.” The more people embrace the purpose, the more likely they will follow—not only at the beginning when adrenaline is pumping and excitement is running high, but later on when the going gets tough, and people question whether they can go another step.

Acting as both their guide and co-voyager, you must reflect on what matters most. With this knowledge, you will be better able to align the group to the overarching purpose and passion, so that they can carry out the strategy all the way to the final destination.

Here’s how embodying purpose can make you a more effective leader:

  • Never jump ahead to the “how” and forget the “why”—the organization’s purpose. The people you journey with also must be aligned to the “why,” in order to see themselves as part of the envisioned destination. Giving people a sense of “why” they are doing what they do transforms self-interest to shared interest.
  • If purpose is the “why,” then vision is the “what.” Vision is best thought of as the picture of “what” is to be accomplished—“what” the organization will look like when the purpose is realized. Together, purpose and vision form the basis of leadership.
  • Think of strategy as defining the “how” (in the journey metaphor, “how” you are going to get to the destination). This is not just direction, but also velocity. Remember, too, the “caterpillar effect”—transformation is a process, and cannot be rushed. But just as surely as the caterpillar will become a butterfly, an organization with a solid strategy grounded in reality will be able to “take off” to its next iteration.