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Employee Wellness & Total Rewards

Unlocking Organizational Success Through Purpose-Driven Leadership

I have never met a post-it note that I didn't love.

Pam August

Chief Co-Creator, Connecting Potential

Recognizing and harnessing untapped potential within individuals and teams is crucial for organizational success.

How do you define purpose-driven leadership, and why is it important for organizations?

Purpose-driven leadership is grounded in what matters. Through the pandemic I got curious about the word ‘matter’ because I heard it a lot. But what does it really mean? The definition that resonates with me is, ‘matter is something of substance and/or significance’ (often both). While having clear direction and strategy that makes sense is critical for success, leaders must take it deeper into the heart of why the work is real (substance) and meaningful (significance). This fosters the commitment necessary to stick with it through the many inevitable twists, turns, and challenges in today’s uncertain world.

What are some characteristics of purpose-driven leaders?

Purpose-driven leaders know that mattering matters and have three characteristics or ‘muscles’ that work together to drive purpose.

Intentionality: They’re laser-focused on what truly matters and how they show up as leaders. Intentionality consciously guides their actions, making their leadership purposeful and present. The greatest ‘present’ we can offer others in today’s distracted world is presence because it lets others know they matter. This is an essential first step if we want them to care about what matters to us and the work we lead.

Awareness: They have a keen sense of self, others, and their impact. Awareness is a superpower that is often absent in busy work and lives where our minds are full rather than us being mindful. When we are aware and notice the ‘now experience’ (self, others, and impact), we move from unconscious reaction to conscious response, fostering genuine connection. 

Congruence. Their words align with their actions. Congruence matters because when there is disagreement between words and actions, it creates uncertainty and mistrust. Consciously aligning and realigning action with intention consistently models what matters most, and is critical to being a credible and ‘trust-worthy’ purpose-driven leader. 

How does recognizing untapped potential contribute to an organization’s success?

I define potential as the ‘capacity to develop or become’ – a crucial aspect for success in today’s rapidly evolving world. The good news is that it is already there in three dimensions of organizational performance: within us, between us (in teams), and around us (in organizational cultures). When we connect our potential, we experience increased energy, ease, and effectiveness. Despite the distractions of busy work and hectic lives, the strategies to connect it are straightforward: intend, notice, move. I delve deeper into these strategies and more in my book, “Potential – How to Connect What’s Already There for Exponential Impact.” Moreover, I partner with organizations worldwide through my performance practice, aptly named Connecting Potential, to help them harness and maximize their potential.

What strategies can leaders employ to identify and leverage untapped potential within their organizations?

Intend, notice, move is a leadership practice that connects the potential in each moment. It also serves as an effective ‘workout’ to strengthen the muscles of purpose-driven leadership: intentionality, awareness, and congruence.

  1. Intend: Start each interaction by focusing on what matters most and how you want to show up. Encourage your team to do the same. Ask: What matters most in this conversation, and how do we want to approach it?”
  2. Notice: Set aside distractions like your phone and ask yourself, “What do I notice in this moment?” Invite your team to share their observations with statements and questions like, “What do you notice is happening in the team? I sense a shift in our energy. What do you think is causing it?”
  3. Move: Alignment is a goal and an ongoing practice. Without actively practicing it, misalignment can result. Check-in regularly and ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how aligned am I/are we right now? What actions can we take to improve alignment?” Ensure that subsequent actions align with the intentions set earlier.

Finally, create ‘moments of mattering.’ Let those you lead know they matter – that they are contributing something of substance, and that they are significant as they do it. It only takes a moment to ground purpose and power potential!

Learn more about Pam August, and connect with her on Linkedin.

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