Reconciling our personal and work purposes

Let me sow a little seed and encourage you to think about your personal and professional purposes and to deepen your understanding of how they interrelate.

If it is not apparent to you what your purpose is, there are plenty of tools to help you find out. However the best ways are either old fashioned self-reflection, or to ask those around you that you really trust.

I remember discussing purpose years ago when a colleague commented, “well yours is obvious, Ollie, you are about doing the right thing the right way.” That was a really helpful moment which has stuck with me and helped me numerous times when making professional or personal decisions. For me it’s not just about getting to the right place; it’s about trying to get there in the right way too. Yes, I am massively imperfect but at least I try to have a sense of what drives me.

One PwC survey ( identified a strong link between loyalty to an employer and a sense of purpose. Indeed, it was founded that millennials were 5.3 times more likely to stay in a business when they have a strong connection to their employer’s purpose. This number reduced to 2.3 times with non-millennials. Yet the same survey reported that only 27% of business leaders help their employees connect individual purpose to that of the company.

So what’s your purpose? Does your individual purpose overlap with your organisation’s purpose? How does it align with your team and those with whom you work? When might it diverge from or conflict with what you are doing at that particular moment in time? If it does, is there a need to change where or how you operate, or to find greater clarity on the purpose of the individuals, teams and/or businesses you lead?

As John F. Kennedy once said, “efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction”.