In Leading from Purpose, Nick Craig at the Harvard Business School writes, “No one can take your purpose away from you; it is your real identity. Purpose has deep resilience and staying power in a way that nothing else can or will.” Craig goes on to make the point that purpose is different from objectives. Daenerys wants to take the Iron Throne and control Westeros. That is her objective but not her purpose. Daenerys tells Tyrion, “Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’son top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground.”
Break the Wheel
Tyrion says it’s a beautiful dream to stop the wheel, a dream others have dreamt before but couldn’t make real. Dany says: “I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.” This is her purpose: to break the cycle that continues to oppress the downtrodden, disenfranchised, and vulnerable. Daenerys wants to put a system in place that treats all people fairly instead of marginalizing, enslaving, and taking advantage of them. Yet, she makes a leadership choice on the battlefield that calls this into question. She executes two prisoners who stand up to her authority. She could be seen to betray her leadership purpose, or she could be seen to make a difficult choice where the ends justify the means, and she proves her commitment to her purpose. Queen Cersei’s objective, on the other hand, is to defeat all of her enemies. Her purpose, which is also one of her top values, is power. Success for Cersei means retaining power and gaining more power. Cersei and Daenerys are competitors whose purposes are at odds. They must confront each other. In the real world, we could also face competitors who oppose our objectives and our purpose. It is important to remember to use our values to drive our authenticity as leaders. This will help our colleagues choose to follow us into battle. Our authenticity will help us motivate our followers.