Whether it is a meeting, a conversation, a business, a job, a holiday—absolutely any human activity—it is worth asking:
“What is the purpose of this meeting, conversation, business, job, holiday, or whatever?”
It is essential not to confuse purpose with outcomes. Outcomes are events, deliverables or happenings that occur because the meeting, conversation, etc has (more or less) achieved its purpose.
The third component to this model consists of actions.
The actions are what you say in a meeting, do in a business, and so on, which are designed to achieve the purpose which—if it is achieved—will secure the outcomes.
So, one client provides IT support services to SMEs: these are the day today actions they undertake. However, their purpose in doing this isn’t really to make money, or even to have fun. Those are outcomes. More outcomes are healthy profits, the growth of the business, nice cars parked outside and so on.
The important point is that this business could decide that achieving some or all of these outcomes was their purpose. But, I put it to them, it isn’t the most helpful purpose. An important use of a purpose is as a tool to help you decide what more or different actions you could take in order to get more or different outcomes. If your purpose is to have nice shiny cars, you are none the wiser when it comes to growing and developing the business.
This particular company decided that its purpose was to enable its clients to continue to trade in the event of an IT failure.
In effect, my client’s purpose was to help its clients solve a problem which they needed to solve.
As I said at the top, you can usefully consider the purpose of anything you do or intend to do.
Whenever you think you’ve defined your purpose, ask yourself if that isn’t really an outcome. And, if it is, what might the deeper purpose be?
> Purpose and outcomes
© 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . by Jeremy Marchant . updated 6 may 2015 . image: Free images