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Definition of Role is Critical in Leadership (and Life)

When we think about the definition of role and success, there are three critical elements necessary for success in most human endeavors:

  1. Purpose
  2. Priority
  3. Passion

Whether in the workplace or in our home and daily life, it is important for us to have a great understanding of our purpose at that point in time, to have clarity in regard to our priorities, and to have a passion about our life in the process.

To Know One’s Purpose Requires an Acute Understanding of Oneself

To know one’s purpose at any point in time (given the circumstances) simply requires defining your role in the process. This is an especially good skill for leaders to develop, as they often find themselves playing different roles for their organizations at different phases of the organization’s growth, development and success.

Definition of Role is Critical in Leadership (and Often Misunderstood)

A chief executive officer’s purpose is often misunderstood. It’s not rare for people to feel that the CEO is responsible for creating excellence in an organization. It’s not the role of the CEO to create excellence; it is the CEO’s job to create an environment where excellence can thrive. This includes getting the right people in the right positions, giving them the latitude they need to be effective and creative, and communicating a clear and concise vision of the goal of the organization.

We have a natural human tendency to let little things get in the way of big things. Most of us spend a great part of our day doing things that have little or nothing to do with our life’s goals. A clear sense of purpose will contribute greatly to help us prioritize our lives. But Purpose and Priority are incomplete without Passion.

Definition of Role: Three Ps for Success

Passion is the critical final “P” of the three Ps, because it serves as the catalyst for our actions. It can help us be more creative, more persuasive and even more attractive in our endeavors. Passion can serve to move us through challenging moments, as well as stimulate us in our less engaging moments.

So the CEO’s purpose is to create a vision so clear, concise and motivating, pertinent and resonating, that it feeds the three “Ps” in each employee. In addition to that crystal clear vision, the CEO must also create the functional, operational environment that encourages individuals to stay focused on their priorities in the most effective manner.

Unbridled Passion Can Be Detrimental to an Organization

With all of this in place, the passion will then fuel both creativity and productivity. But proper structure and effective measurement are critical; otherwise the unbridled passion can breed insecurity, ego-driven battles, authority complexes and empire building.

Without purpose, passion will drive a culture of compulsion, ego and insecurity.

Without priority, the customer and the bottom line will take last place to bulked-up structure and bloated processes.


A balanced organization with clear vision and leadership gets it right:

Passion drives us.

Priority steers us.

Purpose pulls us.

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