In organisations around the world, the pressure is on. Leaders need to navigate the volatility and complexity created by rapidly changing consumer expectations, social and technological shifts, and climate change.
The global pandemic, in particular, has brought purpose into sharp relief. The living of a real purpose puts fire in our belly, a glow in our hearts and light in our eyes. Many individuals, teams and businesses are wrestling with the question: How is the world a better place through us being here? With the public becoming less tolerant of companies profiteering from the COVID crisis, or abusing market power for short-term gain, Marshall McLucen’s wry observation is more relevant than ever: “Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools and yesterday’s mindset.”
A call for better leadership
Many voices are calling for a move away from short-term, target-driven, macho, ego-centric leadership that blights many organisations. Therefore, there is a tremendous hunger for a shift in consciousness amongst leaders. People are happier, healthier and more productive if their organisation really stands for something and creates positive change in the world. They then belong to something worthwhile – a fundamental human need.
With so many people now working from home, purpose plays a powerful role in avoiding the downsides of remote working: lack of engagement, poor work-life balance and mental health issues. Recent research has shown remote workers are three times more sensitive to the positive impact of purpose than their office-based peers. By making work meaningful – whether to feed the nation, provide hospitals with ventilators or research a vaccine – a ‘true purpose’ contributes to societal wellbeing.
Powered by Purpose
Leadership styles addressing past certainties cannot deal with the current reality without wholeheartedly embracing purpose. Purpose provides a way through this challenging environment. A key source of competitive advantage, purpose harnesses the energy of the organisation to serve all its stakeholders.
Powered by Purpose outlines the four core leadership capacities that leaders need to feel alive at work, inspire their teams and, through deeper relationships, create better performance:
- Cultivate Leadership Presence - how to act in a way that others are inspired to follow
- Make Dialogue Authentic - how to talk about what matters most, including people’s long-term wellbeing
- Engage your Stakeholders - how to articulate purpose, so it engages and energises
- Connect on Purpose - how to embody purpose, so it becomes part of day-to-day decision-making
Recent research demonstrates purpose-driven organisations outperform the market by 42%. They deliver better financial performance, more employee engagement and a greater competitive edge. Powered by Purpose equips leaders to deliver through:
- Bringing together all aspects of purpose: organisational, team and personal, providing practical models and steps that can be immediately applied
- Outlining an original, easy-to-follow model of four interrelated leadership capacities enabling leaders to bring purpose to life
- Guiding the leader to energise and align their people around a shared purpose to obtain outstanding results
- Weaving together practical insights with an inspiring forward by Paul Polman (former CEO of Unilever, who demonstrated precisely what purpose-led leadership achieves) and an incisive epilogue by Dr Victoria Hurth (University of Cambridge)
- Drawing on over a decade of research on how purpose can be effectively put into action
Powered by Purpose has already featured in numerous podcasts, book club discussions and client conversations. If you’d like to fuel further conversations on how to transform leadership and build organisations that our children will be happy and proud to work for, do have a read.
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About the author
Sarah Rozenthuler is a chartered psychologist, leadership consultant and dialogue coach. She has over 15 years international experience consulting to many organisations including BP, Discovery, Book Trust and Standard Chartered Bank. Sarah coaches CEOs and their teams to lead more purposefully and communicate more effectively.
Sarah is the CEO of Bridgework, a consulting company she founded in 2007 to inspire leaders and strengthen organisations to become a force for good in the world. As the author of How to Have Meaningful Conversations (Watkins, 2012), Sarah’s work has been widely featured in the media including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Psychologies Magazine and BBC Business online.
Sarah’s passion for purpose-led leadership comes from creating a career that she loves after some ‘lost years’ in her twenties. Having achieved a first-class degree in psychology and a position at a global consultancy, she decided to step away from the corporate world. After moving abroad, she unexpectedly fell on hard times and spent four years working as a street-circus performer, juggling fire in the fiestas of Spain. This tough but life-enriching experience showed Sarah how fulfilling our deepest potential comes, not from ignoring our calling, but from being powered by purpose.
Join the conversation
The Purpose Collective, which Sarah Rozenthuler co-founded during the lockdown in 2019, offers free, interactive, fortnightly, ‘Conversations About Purpose’. It has so far attracted more than 1,000 senior participants from across the globe.
If you’d like to register for a session, save your seat
This content has been created by authors in their personal capacity. Any views, thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Pearson.