It All Depends On Purpose

Ignoranti quem portum petat, nullus suus ventus est
[If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable]

Seneca the Younger, AD65 – extract from the book Deciding

Every person and every organisation has a purpose – in other words, an overarching aim; the reason for being. Goals and strategies change from time to time but Purpose is more enduring. 

The only way to pursue Purpose is to recognise and take advantage of opportunities. This can only be done by making decisions

For example, setting the strategy of an organisation is of itself, a decision. However, any disconnect between strategy and Purpose (as happened with Boeing’s approach to creation and marketing of it B737MAX variant) is a common reason for organisational failure. The organisation loses its way simply because it didn’t check where it was going. 

Deciders therefore need to be continually clear about the Purpose of their organisation – not in a general sense, but in an explicit sense so that the Purpose becomes a foundation for the decision.

Every decision by every Decider – whether it involves strategy, business plans, the shape of the organisation’s structure, it’s governance arrangements or workface implementation – needs to be connected to and validated by the Purpose.

That’s why an explicit and shared understanding of Purpose is also a vital part of the conversations that take place in the course of making decisions. It puts everyone on the same page   … but is more easily said than done. That’s why the book Deciding devotes a Chapter and considerable guidance to the issue of Purpose.