Change / transformation | Leadership | Management / Strategy

Purpose: A key to work that has meaning

On the list of popular corporate buzzwords, “purpose” is right up there near the top.

Everyone wants to work for an organization with a “purpose.” Everyone wants to do “purpose”-driven work. The problem, though, is that no one knows how to define it.

What, exactly, is “purpose?”

Richard Leider has an idea.

The renowned executive coach and host of PBS’s The Power of Purpose offered his definition during a recent edition of Dan Pink’s “Pinkcast” podcast.

“The critical question,” Leider said, “is, what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?”

He boiled that question down to a simple formula: G + P + V = C.

  • G stands for gifts — "your natural, most enjoyed talents, those things that you love to do,” Leider said.
  • P stands for passion — “the things that you really care about,” Leider said, “what you’re curious about and interested in.”
  • V stands for values. “Your values are where you do what you do,” Leider said. “Is it a culture that values you, where you have a voice, where you have a sense of wanting to go and be there?”
  • Add those things together and you get your calling. “A calling is different than a job or career,” Leader said. “A calling is something that allows you to use your gifts, passions and values — that brings you energy, aliveness, health, and productivity.”

If anyone knows anything about purpose, it’s Pink. He identified purpose as one of the three things that all employees want. They want to know that their work makes a difference. If you can connect your team to a higher purpose, you’ll get their best work. And remember: That purpose has to be about more than making money. It has to affect real change in the world.

Are you connecting your team to a higher purpose? Are you giving the important work and room to grow?

Culture pays. Make it pay for you.

To learn more, watch the video below, then check out



William D. Sheridan