Dialogue Q3 2019

Page 20



Discovering purpose Michael Chavez and Sudhanshu Palsule explain why defining purpose is a continual task for leaders at all levels

The financial crash of 2008-2009 didn’t just topple some of the biggest financial institutions in the world: it crystalized a sense that business as a whole had lost its way. The dominance of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street was thrust into the limelight. The role of business in society was questioned. The system was broken. It was in the wake of that crash that ‘purpose’ became one of the biggest buzzwords of business thinking. Yet despite all the thought pieces, books, panel events and webinars, the purpose discussion has struggled to get out of second gear. We have been stuck on purpose evangelism, Dialogue Q3 2019

with true believers preaching the good news about why purpose matters and how it could solve all our business ills. That evangelism has its place, and it’s been undeniably tough to get the message through to some leaders. But it’s well past time that we moved on to talking about how leaders can make purpose a reality for people at all levels of our organizations. We need to look at the lessons learned by companies on the purpose frontline, about what works and where there are pitfalls to be avoided. Through our research into how business can rehumanize leadership, three major lessons