You probably don’t know it, but your company is sitting on a gold mine of untapped energy. Why? Because most companies only understand one kind of energy: goal energy. This is the kind of energy that comes from setting complex, demanding performance goals in order to get the best out of staff. What most companies don’t realise is that this is a long-term recipe for burnout, disengagement and high attrition rates amongst employees. Could this describe your company?
We doubt businesses have adopted a potentially destructive approach for the sake of it. Indeed, we suspect there is a simple reason why organisations have become so reliant on goals as a source of energy: globalisation. New, purportedly more effective working practices that rely on goal energy have been invented and instated in companies across the world, in wave after expensive wave, in response to the challenge of new markets and a wider consumer pool.
Why do we believe this? Well, KPIs are now commonplace, and the use of management consultants to solve business problems has never been higher – the value of the global consulting industry hit a staggering US$251 billion in 2016, up from US$205 billion in only five years (per ALM Intelligence). There may be a place for consultants, but the solutions they provide rely mostly on goal energy – on setting better performance targets, instating new working processes (e.g. Agile ways of working), and so on. These can all be very helpful, but they miss out on another kind of energy – one that won’t cost an arm and a leg to unlock.
The missing link – the "gold mine" – is purpose energy. So what is it, and how is it different from goal energy?
The first thing to say about purpose energy is that it comes from within employees, and must therefore be discovered before it can be unleashed, as it is subjective and unique to each individual. It motivates when people connect to it, and it motivates as a renewable and renewing source of energy. It is experienced in the present, and it leads people effortlessly onwards, from moment to moment. For that reason, it is immensely powerful: it does not lead to burnout and stress, but instead refreshes individuals and transforms entire organisations from the inside.
Goals (and the resulting goal energy), on the other hand, are externally motivating, require employees to expend considerable amounts of energy to accomplish tasks, and focus almost exclusively on outcomes or results – goals always lead you to strain towards the future. Whether or not goals are achieved is easily measurable, but you can probably guess that there are costly trade-offs for goal energy: it is, on its own, immensely tiring, and leads to stress, burnout, and, in extreme cases, death.
On a day-to-day basis, motivating with goal energy alone will probably result in one of two mindsets amongst employees:
The basic point (humour aside) is this: goal energy is unsustainable on its own. That doesn’t mean there is no place for goals and goal energy (of course there is!), it just means that another source of energy – purpose energy – is needed to complement it.
Does purpose energy sound like something you’d like to see in your company? If so, the good news is that we have a successful process for helping individuals discover what their purpose is - what uniquely motivates them. The even better news for your company is that we also teach people how to channel their purpose into their work.
Imagine for a second what your company would look like if everyone tapped into their purpose – imagine the huge amount of energy that would be released! Does that sound too good to be true? Well, why not contact us here to find out more?