Discover how defining a project’s purpose can transform your team’s efficiency and success.

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Transform your project management approach with our “6R Project Purpose” guide.

Drawing inspiration from Priya Parker’s insights, this guide is your roadmap to aligning your team’s vision and enhancing project efficiency.

Ideal for managers and team leaders, it’s a key to fostering team unity and driving purposeful progress.

Enter your email to embark on a journey of refined, impactful leadership.

Purpose guides us in a project (and in life).

Just as in life and business, a project without a purpose can very easily get off the rails.

If the project’s purpose doesn’t resonate with the team and the business, it is in great danger of drifting, getting lost, and potentially losing support.

In every business, there’s always more to be done than we have the capacity to do. Lost and unsupported projects drain an organisation’s funds, time, and energy.

So wasting time, effort and energy on a lost project is, at best, wasteful and, at worst, potentially destructive.

At its core, a purpose is an energising force that propels a project or a business forward.

Thinking about the purpose of the project.

What’s included in the download spreadsheet is a very specific way of thinking about purpose.

When you’re bringing the idea of purpose into conversations as part of your ongoing project, it can really lift and shape how we think about what the team is coming together for.

So, in my worked example, I’m borrowing from the Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. The 6R team completed her Art of Gathering course in 2023 online. She is an inspirational person who facilitates lots of conflict situations.

She has very clear guiding principles on bringing people together for the greatest impact. Part of that is making a deliberate effort to define our purpose, why we’ve gathered, and what we might achieve; that’s the way we translate and transform the conversations.

In the download, I’ve given an example of a project status call.

For me, this gathering was something I was working to elevate last year.

It’s an ongoing gathering that has an existing, assumed purpose. The assumed purpose is what Priya refers to as ‘purpose as a category’. The ‘purpose as a category’ is what most people default to when they are bringing people together (whether for a WIP meeting or a birthday party).

We want to do better than applying the default category.

We can build out that assumed purpose into a basic, boring purpose. In our example, it’s to update one another, check in on status, and so on. In fact, it’s probably how I would describe the gathering to anyone who asks, ‘What’s are we doing this for?’

Arrows pointing up

Why stop there? We can build it out better.

To elevate this further, we can make an attempt at creating a specific, unique, and disputable purpose, which is something where we’re bringing a little bit more to the conversation.

The idea of a disputable purpose confused me at the start. My interpretation of this is that the purpose is suited to you, your project (or business or life), and that it exists for this temporary moment and place. It may seem irrelevant or silly to others (and they may dispute its purpose), but if it works for you, then go for it.

Priya adds to this by saying that purpose can be your ‘bouncer’.

Again, a weird little idea at the start, but if you go with it for a bit, it starts to make sense. It’s a way of generously excluding anyone from the gathering that doesn’t need to be there; the more pointed we can be about the purpose, the more we build and protect the gathering for those who are there.

Purpose, as your bouncer, is meant in a kind way.

What we’re doing is saying, ‘Here’s what we are here for’. If you are not part of that purpose, then you don’t need to be here.

The practical application of this idea is often for meetings.

Meetings are a mundane, day-to-day thing that almost everyone in business does. But if a meeting doesn’t have a purpose, then a lot of the time it’s not particularly effective. So when we’re looking to build ways of working on a project that actually elevate and lift the team, we’re looking to define the purpose of the meeting or gathering. We’re looking to ensure that the people, processes, and practices of the systems that we’re working with are actually all aligned to that purpose.

There are no ‘wrong’ answers.

Give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?

You get a draft purpose that doesn’t really work and needs rework.

You get something that forms a discussion point for the purpose of your next gathering.