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2 October 2023
How can business leaders determine their ultimate purpose?

How can business leaders determine their ultimate purpose?

In the realm of business leadership, success is often associated with financial gains, innovation, and growth. However, beneath the surface, there lies a deeper yearning – the quest for purpose. Business leaders are increasingly recognising that financial achievements, while significant, are not the sole markers of success.

The journey toward determining one’s ultimate purpose has gained prominence, reshaping the landscape of leadership. This can be deemed to be a North Star and working towards it has been coined North Star Thinking. Let’s explore how business leaders can embark on this transformative journey to discover their ultimate North Star.

The catalyst of self-reflection

The journey to creating a North Star begins with introspection. Business leaders are encouraged to step back from the daily whirlwind and delve into the core of their being. Understanding that having that purpose isn’t just about what we do; it’s about who we are. Self-reflection becomes the mirror through which leaders can gaze upon their values, inspirations, and talents. By identifying what truly drives them, leaders lay the foundation for aligning their professional endeavour’s with their authentic selves.

Exercise: Take some time for quiet reflection. Consider your strengths, talents, what you feel the words needs and what you could be paid for. Identify what could embody as many of those as possible at the same time.

Crafting a purpose-driven vision

As leaders unearth their inner values, the journey advances to crafting a purpose-driven vision. “North Star Thinking” illuminates the significance of envisioning a future that aligns with one’s values. This vision becomes a guiding star, steering leaders toward meaningful goals. Just as the North Star guides sailors across uncharted waters, a purpose-driven vision guides leaders through uncharted territories of business challenges and opportunities.

Exercise: Visualise your business as it aligns with your ultimate purpose. How does this vision differ from your previous goals? What new possibilities emerge?

Embracing the power of impact

While financial success remains a cornerstone of business, the concept of impact is gaining prominence. Leaders are urged to consider not only their bottom line but also the footprint they leave on the world. “North Star Thinking” encourages business leaders to explore how their actions can positively influence their community, industry, and beyond. The journey toward purpose gains depth as leaders envision their role in making a meaningful difference.

Exercise: Brainstorm ways your business can have a positive impact beyond profits. How can your actions contribute to a better world by creating a ripple effect? 

Fueling transformation through challenges

Challenges are often perceived as roadblocks on the path to success. However, “North Star Thinking” transforms this perspective, portraying challenges as catalysts for transformation. This way of thinking enables leaders to view setbacks as opportunities for growth. These moments of adversity become platforms for leaders to refine their purpose, to clarify their values, and to reevaluate their strategies. Each challenge becomes a stepping stone toward a purpose-driven journey.

Exercise: Reflect on a recent challenge you faced. How did it reshape your understanding of your purpose? How did you navigate through it?

Guided by values in decision-making

Purpose-driven leaders find their North Star in their core values. “North Star Thinking” underscores the importance of aligning decisions with these values. By infusing decisions with purpose, leaders cultivate authenticity, integrity, and resilience. Each decision becomes an expression of their ultimate purpose, reinforcing their commitment to a meaningful journey.

Exercise: Before making a significant decision, pause to consider how it aligns with your values and purpose. How does this approach impact your choices?

The practice of daily alignment

In the ever-changing landscape of business, it’s easy to lose sight of one’s purpose. Leaders are wise to use the concept of daily alignment – a practice where leaders intentionally connect their actions with their purpose. By integrating purpose into daily routines, leaders bridge the gap between lofty ideals and practical actions. This practice transforms purpose from a distant concept into a guiding force that shapes every decision.

Exercise: Set a daily intention to align your actions with your purpose. At the end of each day, reflect on how well you stayed aligned and what adjustments are needed.

As business leaders stand at the crossroads of innovation and purpose, “North Star Thinking” serves as a roadmap for this transformative journey. By engaging in self-reflection, crafting purpose-driven visions, embracing impact, using challenges as opportunities, aligning decisions with values, and practising daily alignment, leaders illuminate their ultimate purpose. This purpose, like the North Star, guides them through uncharted terrains, providing direction, inspiration, and a deeper sense of fulfilment in their leadership journey.

Will Polston is the author of North Star Thinking, and host of the Make It Happen with Will Polston podcast. 

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