“The purpose of leadership is creating or recreating, not managing today better.”

What is the purpose for all the roles you play is one of life’s fundamental questions. Most people work harder on the why and how questions when they should be asking, what’s the purpose? The purpose of your leadership, and all leadership, is not managing today better, but creating a compelling future.

The ability to create a clear, compelling purpose and stay focused on that purpose is often the difference between winning and losing, regardless of the endeavor. This ability, or lack of it, separates average leaders from the great ones.

The former Steve Jobs, when CEO of Apple, challenged John Scully to leave PepsiCo and join his startup company that lacked resources and name recognition. Jobs could not offer him more money or security, but instead offered him purpose, the chance to change the way the world communicates, learns and exchanges information instead of making sugar water.

When a leader is dedicated to a purpose, creating something new or recreating something and make it better, the energy increases and the dedication is stronger. When all the stakeholders see that the commitment to fulfill the purpose is unwavering, great things happen.

The mission connected to your purpose must be bigger than you are and outlive your lifetime, or it’s not big enough. No leader ever unified the efforts of people, raised substantial resources, and successfully achieved the impossible without an unwavering sense of purpose.

Great leaders’ capabilities are more than charismatic personalities, communication styles and mastering the art of persuasion. These are all useless without understanding your purpose. In successful organizations, the purpose continues long after leadership changes. Your greatness as a leader is determined by what the team can do when your not around and the purpose is still in tact.

Hurdles, obstacles and crisis test every leader’s best efforts. In fact, it’s these very challenges that create your purpose. There is no autopilot or default position for purpose. You cannot take your eye off your purpose for long without it derailing your entire effort. Tough times are the breakfast of champion leaders—they thrive on them.

Adversity or challenge quickly stops a weak or inexperienced leader, especially those who are not motivated by a compelling purpose. But, it only fans the flames of great leaders who don’t know the meaning of can’t or quit. It must be more than talk; you must do everything on purpose for a compelling purpose if you want to be a great leader.

As a leader, what have you created or recreated lately?