Purpose not process

Claire Cater, 21 February, 2016

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the phrase ‘purpose not process’. Intended consolingly when I expressed my disappointment that I would not be working on a project that I had previously thought I would be, it began to rattle around my head over the next week.

I’m lucky that, unlike some people, my job also has some incredibly exciting aspects which has the effect of making other parts more of a slog.

I never doubted the necessity of some of my less exciting tasks but since hearing the phrase, it has become far easier to motivate myself to perform them as quickly and diligently as I possibly can. Envisaging the purpose of any and all activities not only makes them more interesting, but also drastically improves the quality of work produced.

By reflecting on the relationship between what I was doing and what function it served in a wider sense, I began to instinctively improve whatever I was working on. Seeing tasks as pieces in a wider puzzle meant that I could put myself in the shoes of whoever would be using what I produced and so I naturally worked with their intentions in mind.

The parallels between my experience and the plight of an organisation are apparent. If a clear purpose is set, then everyone can shape their process to be as effective as it can be in achieving it. Consistent reflection on the purpose, and how my process was achieving part of it, also gave me a strong feeling of camaraderie with my colleagues. Having a shared purpose, and recognising your own role within achieving that only goes to further your gratitude and appreciation of everyone else’s work.

‘Purpose not process’ would definitely be advice I would pass on to anyone seeking it from someone who has worked for 6 months. But I would also say its up there with the most important yet simple ethos an organisation can implement when thinking about how to engage and inspire their staff.


Oscar is a PA and Account Executive at The Social Kinetic. He is a recent graduate who joined SK in October 2015.

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