In order to stay healthy, an organization needs a strong purpose. But what is the source of that purpose?
Some organizations are driven by a purpose that comes from within the hearts and minds of the founders. A brilliant idea or a value they want to see expressed in the world. They believe in that purpose even when there is little or no marketplace demand for what they envision.
Other organizations derive their purpose by listening to what the marketplace is saying it wants and needs. Keeping in tune with the trends and interests of the external environment is a powerful driver for organizational success.
Healthy organizations maintain a balance between internal and external focus. Too much internal focus shifts an organization into an ego-driven state that is out of touch with reality. Too much external focus makes the organizational vulnerable to chaos — like a ship without a rudder.
Imagine your organization as a human being standing erect with arms extended. Our spine keeps us grounded in reality and aligned with true north above us. Our arms reach out to embrace the world around us.
As a wise person once said, “To find your calling, look at the place where your own uniqueness intersects with someone else’s need.”