How purpose helps you influence

Scott Hunter

Purpose is at the centre of the 'Trust Based Influence' model for a reason.

Purpose is the why you do what you do. It provides you with clarity and helps you align all that you do.

Your purpose helps you build a reputation and trust, as people will buy into it if you can articulate it well and consistently live it.

Purpose is being able to describe the positive impact you want to make. How you will act to achieve it.

It acts like a political manifesto. If it is compelling and speaks to people at an emotional level, they are more likely to come on board and help you achieve it.

A clear and articulated purpose helps you influence others, because they want to help you.

What is purpose

Like many people, one of my first introductions to purpose and its importance was the book 'Start With Why' by Simon Sinek. He introduced the concept of the golden circle. He argues that great leaders and organisations can articulate not just what they do - product/service, and how they do it - they're USP. More importantly they can articulate the WHY, the purpose.

'Purpose is an aspirational reason for being the inspires that provides a call to action for an organisation, its partners and stakeholders' - Mark Herbert

The key to me is that purpose is aspirational and inspirational, it impacts us at a deep level. It provides intrinsic-motivation to succeed. Daniel Pink identifies purpose one of three key intrinsic motivators.

I believe that purpose is an aspiration that will remain constant, even if changes occur. You can deliver your purpose in more than one way. It is overarching and influences decisions you make.

For me, my purpose is 'to guide others, so that they can have a positive impact on other people's lives.'

When I was working on identifying my purpose, it became apparent that most of the choices I have made, and work I have done is linked making a positive impact on other peoples lives. Even without being able to articulate it before, it is clear it does influence the choices I have made and continue to make.

Purpose as a motivator

As mentioned above, purpose is a key driver of human behaviour. It connects at a deeper level, and can give people a sense of being involved in something worthwhile.

In his book 'Drive' Daniel Pink talks about intrinsic motivators. One of the key ones is purpose. This is having the opportunity to be involved in something bigger than yourself. He later talked about the little 'P,' which he described as having the opportunity to contribute.

This demonstrates that being aware of WHY we are being asked to do something is way more powerful than just being asked.

The desire to make a difference, or a contribution is key to intrinsic human behaviour.

Just ask any parent about the desire to know why. How often do you ask a child to do something and the first thing that comes out of their mouth is usually 'WHY.' This desire to know the reason and contribution does not disappear as get older, we just get told not to ask.

Purpose and influence

Being able to have a clear purpose to achieve gives you direction and the ability to align your activities to achieve this.

It becomes a beacon that you can work towards and be consistent and live your purpose and values.

Being consistent towards your WHY builds trust, it helps you demonstrate that you are reliable, selfless and believable. These are all important dimensions of being perceived as trustworthy.

It is highly unlikely that you can achieve your purpose without the assistance of others. You will need others to support, contribute and assist you, so that you can achieve your purpose.

As discussed earlier, purpose connects people at an emotional level. If you purpose excites and engages others, then they are more likely to want to help you.

If you can show that the help you will help them make an impact or contribution you are more likely to get them on board. 

If your purpose is clear and understood, others may even come to you and offer to help. They may be drawn to your purpose and offer to assist. 

Purpose moves you towards a deeper, emotional connection, and away from a transactional relationship. 

Time to get to work on being able to articulate your purpose, get others excited and willing to help you achieve it.