A Sense of Meaning and Purpose
This characteristic relates to an individual’s sense of who they are and how they walk in the world or navigate their way through life. This is directly related to the answers a person has to what are traditionally thought of as life’s ultimate questions:
Who am I?
Why am I?
What is the meaning of life?
What is the meaning of my life?
These are the questions that humankind has pondered since it became self-aware and developed the capacity for critical reflection. The asking of these questions, and the answers to them which have been generated by individuals and successive generations, gave birth to all philosophical and religious frameworks. The capacity and need to search for the answers to these questions is one of the things that distinguish human beings from all other animals.
The answer an individual formulates in response to these questions forms their framework for meaning and purpose. That framework, in turn, forms the basis of their spirituality. Spirituality in this context has no relation to religion or religious practice. It refers to an individual’s sense of meaning and purpose, their sense of self and “that which is greater than self” and how that is expressed in their living, their walking around in the world.
In the community context - the sense of meaning and purpose the community has is able to be articulated by the members of that community. Furthermore, the processes, interactions, policies and procedures of that community are congruent with/reflect that sense of meaning and purpose. In resilient communities there is an alignment between the individual’s sense of meaning and purpose and the communal sense of meaning and purpose. The questions of meaning and purpose asked by communities include:
Who are we?
Why are we?
What do we value?
How do we go about things?
In the workplace context - resilient organisations have a clear understanding and articulation of their meaning and purpose. This meaning and purpose is evident in the culture, policies and procedures, business decisions, and decision-making processes of the organisation. When these are congruent with each other it results in a more ethical, focused and productive organisation. Resilient organisations attract and retain persons whose own sense of meaning and purpose align with that of the organisation. Such organisations experience stable and productive workforces and high worker satisfaction rating. Resilient organisations have a framework of core values that specifically embodies the organisations sense of its meaning and purpose. This framework provides the basis for all that goes on in the organisation.