Find Your Higher Purpose

Too many of us bought into the belief that passion can’t exist at work. As we enter the final week of our “Winning Employees through Engagement” series, Scott Blanchard from The Ken Blanchard Companies® explores how purpose and passion are essential to engagement. We’re honored to have Scott be part of our series.


Work passion is animated when people are connected to something bigger than themselves. Employee engagement is higher in organizations where the mission, vision, and purpose are very clear. As managers, it’s important to not only identify the work that needs to be done, but also why the work is important and why it matters.


A manager’s job is to rally people around something bigger than themselves


It’s like the old story of two men cutting rock in a quarry. The first, when asked what he is doing, answers, “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m breaking big rocks into little rocks.” The second man, on the other hand, answers, “I’m part of a team building a cathedral.”

Who do you think has more passion for their work?

A manager’s job is to connect people to a higher purpose. Look at the difference between flying on Southwest Airlines versus any other airline. The people at Southwest know that their job is to make flying accessible and enjoyable for the general flying public. They are in the customer service business—they just happen to fly airplanes. That’s their mission and that’s what they do. As a result, they come across as being regular people having fun, people who take their work seriously but themselves lightly. Southwest flight attendants are famous for their freedom to ad lib and do fun-loving things that lead to passengers having fun and returning time and again—and all of this happening on planes with no frills, no food, and just the basics on board.

A manager’s job is to rally people around something bigger than themselves. At Southwest the goal was to democratize flying. It’s a part of their “warrior spirit” that continues to this day.

What’s your organization’s rallying cry? How well is it known throughout the organization? Is it something framed on the wall, or is it lived day-to-day? The best companies understand that the most important work is the work that happens the furthest from the top of the organization and the closest to the customer.


As managers, it’s important to not only identify the work that needs to be done, but also why the work is important and why it matters


Companies get the level of engagement that they deserve. Make sure that you’re working as hard at creating purpose and meaning as you are at directing the activities that people need to engage in. Constantly remind people of how their work fits into the bigger picture. It is the manager’s and the organization’s job to make people feel important and to make their work feel important.

If something is meaningful and purposeful to someone, they will take care of the details. Give your people something to believe in. Identify and live your mission and purpose today.

Connect with Scott

Scott Blanchard is a principal with The Ken Blanchard Companies® and the cofounder of Blanchard Certified, a new cloud-based leadership development resource and experience. You can follow Scott through his monthly column at Fast Company or via The Ken Blanchard Companies’ LeaderChat blog and @LeaderChat Twitter stream.

Photo courtesy from Graham Reznick

  • Rallying around purpose is important, but the manager’s real job is to create a highly motivated, highly motivated, and fully engaged workforce with very high morale and innovation literally loving to come to work and at least 300% more productive than if poorly engaged. Purpose is just a part of that. Unfortunately for most executives and managers, they are wedded to the traditional top-down command and control approach to managing people and this always demotivates and disengages many of their employees.

  • “Companies get the level of engagement that they deserve.” – powerful! I agree with Ben’s comments about the constraints of parameters set by some top-down approaches. Kudos to the managers who continue to keep teams fired up despite these challenges. This reminds me of the phrase, “People don’t quit companies, they quit managers.”

  • Great post, thanks for it!. I absolutely agree, as human being we are able to do great things and to overcome big adversities only if we have a high purpose behind them. High purpose is our driver, without it our drive is very week, so we can make a lot of effort but will get poorly results.

  • Fredrick Ombeta

    true indeed if we embrace the above tips we will turn a chore into acheer

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