Purpose Design is… seeing

Purpose Design is… seeing

Arthur Mendelson: How many fingers do you see?

Patch Adams: There are 4 fingers, Arthur.

Arthur Mendelson: No, No! Look beyond the fingers! Now tell me how many you see.

Patch Adams: What?

Arthur Mendelson: You’re focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem, you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem! Look at me! How many do you see? Look beyond the fingers. How many do you see?

Patch Adams: 8

Arthur Mendelson: 8, 8. Yes, yes. 8 is a good answer. Yes. See what no one else sees. See what everyone else chooses not to see out of fear of conformity or laziness. See the whole word anew each day.

This brief section of Patch Adams gets to the heart of purpose design. It’s all about seeing.

Transfixed with Routine

It’s easy in life to become transfixed with routine. We wake up at the same time each day. We shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast. The sameness emerges even within the food we eat; a bowl of cereal or a grapefruit greets us every morning.

We commute in the same direction and arrive at work at the same time every day.

Our interactions with colleagues sit at the surface level as we hear how everyone else had a pleasant previous evening. The challenges and opportunities from the work day may vary but they never wander too far from routine.

If you’ve worked in your role long enough, you assuredly can bucket your tasks into specific sections.

Lunch comes from the same restaurant unless you’ve got a lunch meeting; the commute home mirrors the commute to work.

Rinse and repeat.

Given such repetition, it’s very easy to engage autopilot. It’s easy to look at the 4 fingers in front of us instead of seeing beyond what’s immediately in front of our faces.

Seeing the World Anew Each Day

But what would it look like if we reengage at a deeper level and consider the deeper meaning behind what we do?

Every morning becomes a fresh opportunity to see something new — to make a new connection or approach a problem from a new perspective.

Purpose design sets the stage for seeing with a new perspective.

Your core purpose and identity are reflected in your organization as a whole and in your work specifically. Your company culture unites so that you build meaningful relationships and work collaboratively. Your external touch points feel authentic to your customers. And your external experiences create a higher level of value.

This all starts with seeing 8 fingers instead of 4. See the world anew each day.

The Bottom Line:
  • What does your routine look like? How can you see anew each day?
  • Are there ways you can encourage your team to see beyond what’s immediately in front of them?
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