Transitions Coaching Blog

Thoughts. Reflections. Intentions.

The Not-So-Surprising Link Between Purpose, Vision, and Leadership

By Jennifer Tucker, Writer and Content Creator  |  June 13, 2022

In our work with people, we lean heavily into The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) to help our clients find their unique path to becoming the type of leader whose leadership brings out the best in them and in their teams. Our belief in the LCP stems from its human-centeredness, of course, and also its tested and true effectiveness.

Years ago, The Leadership Circle undertook a study to measure how the LCP correlates to business performance and leadership effectiveness.

The research revealed some strong connections between the LCP’s dimensions and business impact, suggesting that “creative” behavior dominates in organizations that perform well, and “reactive” behavior dominates in organizations that perform poorly.

When you dive deeper into the results and the findings related to the specific dimensions that correlate most strongly to leadership effectiveness, what you see is perhaps not-so-earth-shattering … but it is thought-provoking and reflection-inducing for a lot of leaders.

The research found a strong correlation between effectiveness and a leader’s capacity to express purpose and vision. In fact, the Purposeful & Visionary dimension emerged as the highest correlation (at 0.91) to leadership effectiveness among all the other competencies.

Although The Leadership Circle’s research is more than a decade old, it still resonates today. You could pull up any issue of any current business publication and find dozens of articles citing purpose and vision as crucial to building a winning team, culture, and environment in today’s context.

Why? Because our most important job as leaders is to foster an environment in which people can meaningfully contribute.

And the first step toward creating that type of environment and culture is to articulate our purpose and vision. When we fail to do so, it comes at the expense of so many things that positively impact both organizational performance and individual effectiveness:

True collaboration and teamwork.

Without a clearly defined purpose, we may overlook opportunities for people to come together and think bigger. We may inadvertently stay in our ‘swim lanes’, in which each team or individual focuses narrowly on their “assigned task” rather than stepping outside of their respective boxes and working side-by-side to solve tough challenges.

Identifying what we stand for and why we do what we do allows us to collectively reach further and make a broader impact.

Innovation and creativity.

When we haven’t set out a vision, we may rob ourselves and our teams of opportunities to probe, learn, and grow. Without the feeling that we’re working toward something bigger and better, we may stifle innovation, bypass chances to explore new ways of doing things, or miss out on major breakthroughs.

Setting our sights on the long-term allows us to open ourselves and our teams to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences that could strengthen our chances of reaching big, important goals.

Forward progress and evolution.

If we lose sight of our purpose, we face a lot of the same risks as reverting to “default mode” (something we discussed in this blog post). In default mode, we habitually fall into the same patterns, behaviors, or ways of thinking. In other words, we stay “stuck,” relying on an approach we’ve used in the past, which may be all wrong for what we’re facing in the present.

Recalling what called us to our work fortifies us to endure change and complexity and to stay focused on making a meaningful impact.

Meaning and fulfillment.

Without a compelling vision, work can feel a lot like “going through the motions.” We may repeat the same cycles, giving little thought to what we’re doing and—even more importantly—why we’re doing it. That contributes to an environment devoid of passion or enthusiasm. It probably makes it harder to motivate yourself—and your team—to get out of bed and come to work every day.

Articulating (and continually rearticulating) our vision keeps us focused on the “why,” creating a gravitational pull or calling that helps people find greater meaning in and engagement with their work.

As leaders, when we understand the importance of purpose and vision and accept our responsibility to create it, our roles begin to shift.

We’re no longer bogged down by defining tasks, managing activity, and evaluating performance. Instead, we’re energized to set context, create alignment, and inspire something bigger and more meaningful.

If you’re interested in exploring your ability to create vision and purpose, consider engaging in the Leadership Circle Profile. The LCP will help you identify your strengths, traits that may be limiting you, and opportunities for growth—and Transitions Coaching can help you use the results to map a plan to become the leader you want to be.
Learn more here: