Leading and Living into Purpose

Purpose is an underlying thread holding the fabric of an organisation together. When purpose is clearly articulated, groups can endure major challenges and thrive through change.

So what is purpose?

Purpose is that longer term, rarely realised in your lifetime Star.

According to Joshua Freedman (CEO Six Seconds), purpose is something you make and grow, not something you find or seek.

It’s deeply connected with emotional intelligence.

In many organisations, not enough emphasis is placed on emotional intelligence programs to help leaders make and grow their purpose, and that of their organization.

The world as we know it is experiencing unprecedented, turbulent change, which is going to demand increasingly high levels of emotional intelligence from people at all levels of organizations.

Connecting to purpose is a critical element to lead yourself and others through this ever increasingly changing environment.

I’ve recently read Culture Renovation, a book byKevin Oakes, where he quotes the Australian born CEO of the company WD-40, Garry Ridge, as saying “Purpose motivates people to feel part of something where they believe that they are making a difference.

When our tribe members at WD-40 come to work, they ask themselves, ‘What am I going to do today?’

Their answer: ‘I am going to create something positive for someone. I’m going to solve a problem. I’m going to make something work better. I’m going to create an opportunity. I’m going to create a lasting memory for someone’.”   

Rarely do they say ‘I’m going to work today to sell a can of chemicals’. 

When a leader such as Garry Ridge clearly defines purpose, they’re speaking to the hearts and minds of their employees to not only better navigate the change being experienced, but to create a thriving culture.

When a leader has a gauzy purpose, or even worse, none articulated at all, they may be unwittingly fuelling disengagement and increasing the likelihood their people will struggle with and resist change.

The wonderful Simon Sinek in his latest book, The Infinite Game, speaks of purpose in terms of having a Just Cause.

Understanding, exploring and articulating purpose comes up in almost every coaching engagement with my clients. It’s just so vital to the very foundation of inspired AGILE leadership.

Perhaps it’s one of the reasons that Brené Brown says that she’s never worked with a truly transformational leader who hasn’t themselves worked with a coach! It’s hard to get to this level of self-awareness on your own.

This week I feel proud to share with you the launch of a program I’ve been working on for two years, CLO (Change Leadership Online). CLO will take you on a self-paced journey to grow your own emotional intelligence,  and clearly articulate and grow your own purpose and that of your team//organization.

It’s a learning journey perfectly suited for leading in these turbulent, changing times. 



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