What We're Reading May 2018

What We're Reading


In a new book Jim Kouzes calls “a great read with very timely messages, and a powerful guide for business, marketing, and HR leaders to put the purpose advantage to work”, authors John Izzo and Jeff Vanderielen—both prominent experts on finding purpose in life and work—offer sage advice on how to lead on purpose to Inspire a Shared Vision.

The Purpose Revolution: How Leaders Create Engagement and Competitive Advantage in an Age of Social Good is packed with examples of how some of the world’s best leaders are inspiring, engaging, and motivating others—and bringing to life many of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. By activating purpose they are providing ways that their direct reports and colleagues can gain a deeper sense of meaning and connect to the higher purpose of their work.

 The authors profile John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, for example, who believes that while it’s important to hire people committed to the company’s values and purpose, to truly unlock their potential you need to redesign their work to make it more meaningful and assist them in discovering their intrinsic motivation for good. Or consider Subhanu Saxena, managing director and global CEO of the pharmaceutical company Cipla, based in India, who also knows the power of connecting people’s work to a sense of meaning and purpose beyond themselves. At his company, he says, “people come to work feeling they are doing Mahatma Gandhi’s work and that has been embodied by our senior leadership team. It gives passion and dedication to the organization and I really see that come out in our people.”

The Purpose Revolution shows leaders how to create a purpose-driven culture and a true shared vision across the entire organization. Concrete actions and practical exercises help ensure that employees think beyond the numbers to the transcendent qualities of the work, that customers see and feel a greater sense of purpose and connection in the way they interact with company employees, and recruits experience purpose and vision as they decide where and with whom to share their talent.

Among the many exercises and ideas for putting purpose to advantage in your team, the authors suggest setting aside time—either as a standalone activity or part of a team-building retreat—to have an open discussion about its purpose. You might ask questions such as: Why do we exist? What value do we add—to the organization, customers, society? Or you might take this opportunity to connect the work of your team to your company’s heritage by asking: Why was the company started in the first place? Who are the founding members, and what was their mission and vision? How does our team live this purpose or add the next chapter in the story of the company? From these questions you can develop a shared purpose statement for your team, discuss it regularly and set goals and milestones around it, just as you do with other operational efforts. They advise to routinely review progress and look for small wins (Challenge the Process), and recognize people’s contributions toward these goals and celebrate success as a team (Encourage the Heart).

Learn more here or connect with John Izzo and Jeff Vanderwielen on LinkedIn.

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