Igniting individual purpose in times of crisis (McKinsey)
By Naina Dhingra, Jonathan Emmett, Andrew Samo, and Bill Schaniger
In these stressful, surreal times, it’s understandable for CEOs to fixate on urgent corporate priorities at the expense of more intangible, personal considerations. How important is getting your people to think about their “purpose in life” right now when you’re worried about their well-being—not to mention corporate survival?
It’s more important than you think. During times of crisis, individual purpose can be a guidepost that helps people face up to uncertainties and navigate them better, and thus mitigate the damaging effects of long-term stress. People who have a strong sense of purpose tend to be more resilient and exhibit better recovery from negative events. Indeed, our research conducted during the pandemic finds that when comparing people who say they are “living their purpose” at work with those who say they aren’t, the former report levels of well-being that are five times higher than the latter. Moreover, those in the former group are four times more likely to report higher engagement levels.
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