Aligning Personal and Organizational Purpose
Brad Baso has over 15 years of people-centered change leadership experience spanning sectors and industries. His purpose is to help individuals, organizations, and communities flourish through times of growth and transformation.
MAOL students complete an action research project to address a current leadership issue. Brad set out to help individual’s find their personal purpose and create alignment between personal and organizational purposes.
We humans seek out one another and form organizations to help us pursue purposes that are too big for any one of us to fulfill on our own. After moving from the nonprofit sector to corporate, however, I found the highly-useful employee engagement driver of common purpose to be less available to me as a leader. I conducted my action research project, Aligning Personal and Organizational Purpose, in order to explore how an employer-sponsored workshop could help activate employees’ personal purposes—and that of their company’s.
In my 90-minute workshop, I led participants through an activity for them to imagine and document the impact of their purpose, helped them construct their purpose statement, discussed the company purpose, and finally asked them to consider actions that could help fulfill both their personal purposes and the company’s in their current roles. Participants reported that they highly valued the investment in their personal development. They also became clearer on their company’s purpose and how they could take action to advance that shared purpose. In post-workshop surveys, participants ranked personal purpose as the top motivating factor for taking action to fulfill the company purpose.
Kouzes and Posner identified the key leadership behavior of helping others see how their long-term interests can be realized by enlisting in a common vision (2012). My project illustrated the need for leaders to understand their people’s long-term interests (purpose) and to ensure a successful operationalization of the company’s purpose across employee touchpoints.