Having a purpose creates meaningfulness in your life – as it does for the life of an organization. There is little meaning to be had in a life that has no purpose. There is a sort of meaninglessness or ambiguity in an organization that has no collective purpose.

To make a profit is not a purpose. That is merely a means to some end. To serve the society is not a purpose. To what end? To be competent is not a purpose. It is a means to some specific purpose. Having a competent organization may be a good thing. But unless there is a purpose for being competent, it has no direction.

It makes no sense to talk about competence without purpose. It makes no sense to talk about purpose without competence.

Each of these – competence and purpose – calls upon the other to realize some endeavor, to contribute in some significant and meaningful way to a better life, a better world. It is that kind of purpose that people can subscribe to. They ask: Why am I here? Why does this organization exist? What is it for? What am I for here within it?

These are the questions people want answered about purpose. The better you can answer them, the more they will be a part of the whole process – assuming a great and worthy purpose.

People want to belong to something that is bigger and more relevant than they are. The leader(s) must provide this “something.” It is a daily answer to the question: “Why are we all here?”

-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader, Excerpt from The Competent Organization