Discovering purpose : Have 2 fewer conversations about “how” and two more about “why”

Much has been written about Purpose as a key motivator for people in their personal and work life. In fact, we too have published previous posts on this topic – including our Motivation card activity – as it continues to resonate with us and the leaders we work with.


In this ‘PinkCast’ from Dan Pink, he shares some results of a study performed by Harvard Business school, that showed the practical result of getting employees closer to their purpose – to their ‘WHY’. In this study, streaming images of the customer led to an increase in the quality of the team’s product by as much as 17%!

In the past, he has spoken about 2 types of Purpose:

  • the louder purpose – Purpose with capital P – the sort associated with making a big difference to something important. ‘I’m healing patients. I’m making the world a better place. (I love this job because I feel like I am making a difference.)
  • the quieter purpose – purpose with small p – the sort associated making a mark, making a contribution. This is about helping people know why they are doing something in the first place and giving them a chance to do it well! This is about people understanding why what they are doing matters to themselves, to customers and / or the people they work with. (I love this job because I feel like I am making a contribution.)
  • Both the big P and the little P are very important motivators for people.


In this short video he challenges us to make this concept something we can practically apply each and every day in our own work and life – how can we find more little P moments?

Pink’s challenge – ‘this week, have two fewer conversations about how, and two more about why’! See what impact this has on those around you – and on yourself!

Click on the image to be taken to Dan Pink’s page and the video.