Lesson 4.5

The Power Of Purpose

We talked in lesson 4.3 a little bit about the concept of “Purpose.” In this brief lesson, we’re going to elaborate on this idea.


Key Concepts:


The most powerful thing that can unite a group—especially a group that has cognitive diversity—is a strong shared purpose.

  • Every time the aliens come to destroy the Earth in science fiction, we humans manage to band together and become an awesome team. Defending planet Earth is a perfect (albeit dramatic) example of a strong shared purpose.

  • But we don’t have to wait for a life or death scenario to use the power of purpose to bring people together!

Purpose is what your team exists to do. Different kinds of shared purposes can include:

  • Solving a problem.

  • Furthering an idea or cause.

  • Making money/resources.

  • Creating things.

  • Helping people.

  • Having an experience.

  • Not every purpose is equally noble, and not every purpose is equally motivating.

Teams don’t have to last forever. Once the purpose is fulfilled, the team can disband, and that is okay!

  • Some teams form with a clear end in mind from the beginning. A Hollywood team will band together to film and promote a movie, and then disband.

  • The human brain can psychologically resist the disbanding of a group—or the letting go of group members—because group unity was crucial for our early survival. But getting rid of this idea that groups have to stick together forever can help us to make group work even better.

  • The key is to prioritize a focus on group purpose over group membership.