A Purposeful Life
Mark Frasco - President
August 2014 – This past week, my youngest brother, Martin, suddenly passed away. Cardiac arrest; he was 49 years old. I think it is natural to focus on all that that person was and all that you did or didn’t do, when you lose someone. It dominates your thought for some time. I am there.
As I reflect more deeply now, thinking about my life, I find myself reconnecting at a higher level. For years, I’ve read about and taught the concepts of leading a purposeful life – living a life that has meaning beyond yourself, outside of you. Years ago, I spent time contemplating and recording a personal mission statement (To help others see and achieve a more desired future) that has guided me on my life’s journey. But, now the connection is getting stronger.
In my work over the years, I’ve listened to leaders marginalize or diminish the usefulness of a personal or organizational purpose. Many of them have suggested that the only real purpose of a business is to make money, and a worker to dutifully contribute to that end. I might offer a slight twist to this logic – I think organizations and collections of their people need to produce profit, but I think the larger question is, for what purpose? Money is a resource that should allow us to better align with and expand on our organizational or personal purpose. Yes? Money can’t be our reason for existence. Bah, humbug, you might say.
In the third of the three circles of his Hedgehog Concept, Jim Collins writes in Good to Great, “What you are deeply passionate about. The idea here is not to stimulate passion but to discover what makes you passionate.” In Built to Last he wrote, “Profitability is a necessary condition for existence and a means to more important ends, but it is not the end in itself…”
Organizational purpose, according to senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, Peter Senge, wrote in The Fifth Discipline, purpose is “the organization’s answer to the question, ‘Why do we exist?’ Great organizations have a larger sense of purpose that transcends providing for the needs of shareholders and employees. They seek to contribute to the world in some unique way, to add a distinctive source of value.”
At COACT, our reason for existence, our mission statement is, we supply a process solution to business growth and prosperity. At our core, we believe in building prosperous business systems. We believe that business growth has much more to do with quality process than technique.
We’ve been very fortunate not to have many quakes over our eleven year history, but when the wheels get wobbly, or we’re not performing as we should, we reconnect to our core purpose. Usually, it doesn’t take long before we improve our current condition.
My brother Martin and I weren’t close for a number of years. None of the reasons for that distance seem to be very important now. As such, that realization has me connecting more strongly to my personal purpose. Rest in peace my brother.
Questions or comments? Please contact Mark Frasco at mfrasco@teamCOACT.com.