The Emotional Impact of Purpose and Progress

The Emotional Impact of Purpose and Progress

Excerpt from The Search for Meaning at Work: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Purpose to Engage and Fulfill Your Workforce by Steve Van Valin, SVP of Culture Transformation

I believe it’s possible to recognize whether people are on track toward their purpose at work. If you observe the emotions they display, those emotions may reveal their glide path location, plus predict behavior and performance. 

What do you observe from the descriptors in this image? Do people have clarity of purpose? Are they making progress toward purpose? Note that each quadrant is labeled with an emotion, a “persona,” a set of behaviors, and an outcome. Awareness will give you choices. If you’re not sure how they feel, why not ask? It will demonstrate respect and give you the opportunity to work on what’s missing from their experience at work. 

I am convinced of the validity of the following statement: Progress toward purpose makes work meaningful. 

This is my most significant next-level insight from The Progress Principle research (noted in chapter 1) that can change your approach to engagement. Here’s why. Although progress and meaning can be scrutinized separately as conditions for engagement, I see the highest impact when they function in synergy. Purpose is the glue that holds progress and meaning together. Here’s the important takeaway, and great news. We can absolutely clarify purpose. It’s within our control. I believe as an engagement strategy, it should become our number one focus as leaders.