What tulips tell us about the importance of focussing on true purpose

We’ve been enjoying a wonderful array of spring flowers – both in the garden and in vases around our homes, and wondering what they teach us about purpose.

The cut flowers in the vase certainly give us pleasure, but is that it? To smell good and look pretty in our windows, or is there a purpose with wider benefits?

In nature flowers are an essential part of sustaining our ecosystems, serving a wider purpose for the planet and its people. We don’t often think about that though – we’re distracted by the short-term pleasure of the fragrance and the beauty.

How often do we think about the wider organisational purpose in each business decision we make. Is the decision going to feed the wider purpose, or is there a short-term distraction – like this month’s figures, or getting through a difficult meeting?

Rather like the short-term pleasure of the cut flowers in our vases. They really do please us right now, but it’s not sustainable for them, or us. We may be cutting them off in their prime, before they’re able to serve their wider purpose to reproduce and support our ecosystems.

Similarly, our business decisions need to feed the wider purpose of our organisations for us to truly thrive. If we’re distracted by a short-term gain we risk going off course and undermining that important purpose.

Even those tricky performance or disciplinary decisions should be feeding that purpose. If we’re clear about how the issues impact the wider purpose we’ll have clarity and justification for our actions, and can communicate that more persuasively as part of our decision making. We can be confident that we’re serving the right purpose – and the decision will be so much better received in human terms. There’ll be less legal risk too.

Here’s a simple video by Emma explaining how this might work in practice.

In summary an example might be:
🌷 identify the organisation’s purpose – ours is to help organisations truly thrive by living their purpose and values in all that they do
🌷 consider the issue – let’s say a colleague missed an online meeting, delaying our ability to help a client live their purpose in a tricky situation
🌷 is this a time management issue, or is it really about our purpose? As a team we missed an opportunity to live our purpose. That hurts
🌷 so let’s talk about that and why it matters
🌷 making sure it doesn’t happen again may include some time management skills – but that’s not the driver

After all – what will motivate the colleague more tomorrow – improving their time management and fear of a further warning, or supporting the team to deliver our purpose?

We believe in purpose.

Our comment

Let’s not be distracted by the fragrance and what pleases us in the moment – let's always be led by our true wider purpose.