What’s your purpose?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc?fs=1&hl=en_US&w=426&h=256%5D

Following on from thinking about Jimmy Wales’ challenge in yesterday’s post, I came across this clip based on Daniel Pink‘s book “Drive” – a follow-up to his ‘Whole New Mind“. (I have to say, I find the video clips from RSA Animate wonderfully informative and engaging).

The thing that caught my attention here comes near the end of the clip, where Pink asserts that when organisations (and individuals) are motivated by purpose (not profit) then ultimately we can hope to make the world a better place. The clip quotes the founder of Skype who says “our goal is to be destructive, but in the cause of making the world a better place,” and Steve Jobs who says he wants to make a ‘ding’ in the universe as examples of “Purpose maximisers“. Pink argues that the old approaches of offering rewards for better performance simply don’t work, and quotes research illustrating that, in situations that require more than just rudimentary cognitive skill, the traditional patterns of rewards don’t work that way. He argues in the presentation for focusing on approaches that provide high levels of self-direction and autonomy in organisations, in order to achieve the focus on purpose.

Obviously, the clip is only a summary, and the book contains a lot more – I came across a useful review by Larry Fliegelman in Connected Principals in which he summarises his 19 Top Ideas for Education based on his reading of Drive. Fliegelman’s commentary on some of the key statements from the book are worth reflecting on.

I guess at the beginning of a new school year (in NZ at least 🙂 it’s a good time to be reflecting on the ‘bigger picture’ as we prepare to begin another cycle of activity in our schools and classrooms, and you could do worse than starting with examining “what’s your purpose?” and exploring the things that you’re doing in terms of providing motivation for your staff and students in the work they do.

2 thoughts on “What’s your purpose?

  1. I’m interested to note the Deming Institute, promoting the business management thinking of W Edwards Deming, hope his principles can be applied to education.
    They can. The first of his five “deadly diseases’ of business management is, ‘lack of constancy of purpose’.

    I’m sure that concept has a strong correlation with your thinking above, Derek.

    Readers can check out the idea on YouTube: Punch in ‘W Edwards Deming’ and find Five Deadly Diseases on the first page. The concept is elaborated on more fully in Dr Deming’s book, “Out of the Crisis”.

    Cheers from Kaunas.

  2. I love the idea of schools following the software company’s idea of giving teachers one day a month to let loose creative ideas for the classroom and reporting back. It could perhaps even be applied in the classroom, remembering Ken Robinson’s speech on changing education paradigms where he talked about changes in divergent thinking.

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