200 WORD RESPONSE to this post

 

believe most organizations can integrate a greater purpose in the workplace. It starts with why the organization exists, even if that is to turn a profit. Integrating a “noble purpose” is subjective, so the organization simply has to state what they are about. The key is, it must be true. You can’t be McDonald’s and say, “We provide healthy nourishment globally.” Rather, it’s “to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink”. It’s fun, cheap, tasty(ish), easy, and available. That’s their noble purpose, but I don’t think their employees are focused on that when they are feeling unmotivated. McDonald’s is honest and I respect that.

If you want to use a noble purpose to inspire someone you have to understand 1) how what that person does fits into the big picture of the organization, 2) what that person values, and 3) if the purpose of the organization matches what that person values. These aren’t questions everyone can afford to ask, sometimes employees have to do what pays the bills. Sometimes leaders have to explain that the purpose of the organization and the values of a particular employee don’t match. If you are a mathematician who is also a passivist, you aren’t likely going to get much satisfaction out of doing extensive cost evaluations on the next generation air dominance aircraft. While the work is challenging, the person just can’t support the purpose of the organization and I don’t believe they’d be very happy in that job.

It’s important to remember that the noble purpose satisfies a higher tier on the 5 stage model of motivation. If someone is trying to motivate their coworkers using their organization’s noble purpose I hope they understand a lot about where their coworkers are in their life. It may come across as if you are warning against macronutrient inbalances in a Big Mac to a starving person. 

My recommendation would be to provide clarity. Let them know what you value and how those values impact the noble purpose of the organization. L. David Marquet addressed this well,

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