More and more frequently and in varying situations and on various platforms, I am seeing, hearing and reading Agile Coaches state their purpose as being to make their presence unnecessary as quickly as possible.

At a glance, the statement seems profound and perhaps even visionary. In an interview / contract situation it implies that you are conscious of costs and will pass on all the skills and knowledge necessary, in as short a time as possible, for your presence to no longer be needed.

But when I think about how this statement can be applied in practice, I find that there is little to no meat to it.

My desired state is to be not needed.
My goal is to get myself from needed to not needed as soon as possible.
I am a success when I realise that I am no longer needed.

A purpose is something that you strive for and live every day. It is something that you broadcast to the world for all to see. It is something that drives you and if it is your intention to lead then those around you should be inspired by you living your purpose.

How does making your presence unnecessary as soon as possible define a purpose that encompasses Agility? How does it inspire the team to grow and achieve their best? How does it help to gain the trust of the team? Will the team follow you if you shout these few words?

Analyzing this statement leads me to the conclusion that this is not a purpose but rather a desired outcome of a greater purpose.

My point is that we have a responsibility to think about our purpose and how that purpose ties into our goals, aspirations and responsibilities. When we are in leadership positions, we have the further responsibility of ensuring that our purpose helps to build and guide others in their purpose. We need to clearly define and live that purpose.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your purpose is fixed. Your purpose is fluid, it evolves with you. Your purpose today may not be your purpose two years from now. Everyone, regardless of career level, job or function can and should have a clearly defined purpose. If you were asked, right now, what your purpose was. What would you say?

My purpose, at this point in my life, is to help the business realise results for themselves and their customers in a rapid, consistent and predictable way by building self organising teams through the successful implementation of the Agile principals.

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