Tuesday, 24 May 2016

#ATD2016 The Purpose Effect



I'm looking forward to a session from Dan Pontefract at ATD ICE later on today.  Dan's also got his book The Purpose Effect in the ATD bookstore.

The purpose effect suggests that there's a sweet spot based on an overlap between someone's personal purpose, their role purpose and the organisational purpose:


The organisational purpose should go beyond making money.  I like Dan's write up of Paul Polman at Unilever informing analysts he wasn't going to provide them with short-term guidance on business performance to ensure they could focus on a mature discussion with the market about the company's long-term strategy.  (Note to self - including a CEO comments in your book is a great way to get their endoresement for it too!)

Personally I'd like to see company purposes which put employees, not just customers or their communities first.  As then the rest follows.  But probably anything other than just money will work.


Role purpose encourages people to find meaning in their work, and makes it more likely that they will be able to feel commitment to their organisation.  A lot of this is about having control over your own working environment.


Individual purpose is probably the hardest of these and Dan notes that fewer than 20% of leaders have a good understanding of their own purpose (they need to view Simon Sinek's TED video!).

My purpose is to help reduce the number of people experiencing the same poor organisational management and leadership that I've experienced through most of my career.

I think we face bigger problems - particularly with the environment - but organisational management is the one I'm most able to influence so this is where I've chosen to focus.


For me, this is the key reason I work for myself rather than for an organisation - it's the easiest way to ensure the three purposes are aligned.  I'd guess the same is true for many other independent contributors too.  Which of course adds to the need for organisations to find ways to make this alignment happen too.

And I guess that's the area I'd have liked to have seen more of in Dan's book - what are the HR processes organisations can use to help people find their purpose and ensure these are aligned with the others, or not.

But proportionate pay differentials are going to have to be a major part of this - see my comments on reward from the ATD's Talent Management Handbook, which is available in the bookstore here too.

But the best example I've come across was probably this case study on Visa Europe from a few years back - you might like to check that post out as well.


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