I am noticing a trend amidst the engagements I have been summoned for: many leaders are beginning to wonder if their official declared purpose, vision, mission and values are still relevant. Many are considering that these need to be reconsidered, or at the very least “refreshed”.
This is wonderful—breathing life into what ought be an evolving field of enquiry. Yet there is also a whole consulting industry that has emerged to service this need, and we have been collectively groomed to believe that the messy, organic, nebulous, intersubjective, contextual, contingent, paradoxical, emergent and enlivening conversation about ‘purpose’ ought be rendered into neat, pithy platitude-statements. Which will arrive sanitised yet already stale.
Of course, there’s a Machiavellian propaganda wing to all things—I get that. But I’d like to help ensure that purpose, vision, mission and values remain a living conversation. Not fixed. Sometimes composted—but never undead.