Leadership Self-Analysis

Are You Event-Driven or Purpose-Driven?

Most people, and thus most organizations, are event-driven. Leaders, and their organizations, are purpose-driven.

In an event-driven organization, the day begins with the first event that occurs, followed by the second, and then by the third, each more or less random events being superseded by the next more or less random event – until, at the end of the day, people are exhausted. Most people finish one day of being event-driven, only to look forward to another day of the same.

Well…perhaps you’ve been there, done that. You know how it feels and how it leads to nothing other than more of the same. If you like that, forget the rest of this. If you are really, really dissatisfied, read on.

What’s different about being purpose-driven? After all, the same events can occur whether you are event-driven or purpose-driven. The primary difference is that, if you are purpose-driven, you look at those events in terms of their relevance to your purpose, your aim, your cause in life. You interpret events in terms of their bearing on outcomes you have chosen, not in terms of those events themselves.

In a purpose-driven organization, the agenda precedes the events. Events get put into a more meaningful context – in terms of their relevance, not to people, but to the larger purpose – the reasons for the organizations existence and its destiny. Some things to consider:

  • To be event-driven is to measure things by their demands.
  • To be purpose-driven is to measure life through accomplishments that move you toward your purpose.
  • Preparing yourself, and then others, to get on the path of real achievement is being purpose-driven.
  • Mere activities diminish everyone to a life of being event-driven.
  • A person who is event-driven will never become a leader.

Remember, a true leader helps us to put the horse before the cart – the context before the event.

-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader