• The Chief Purpose Coach

Changing MINDSETS not just SKILL SETS

Last week, the Business Roundtable, a group of 181 CEO leaders from the world’s largest companies, joined together and announced their commitment to lead in a new way, one driven by purpose. Members of the Roundtable including Jamie Diamond, CEO of JP Morgan Chase and Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson and Johnson, voiced that they intend for their companies to operate in the interests and for the benefit of all stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders.

As a career and purpose coach, I love when organizations double down and bet on their people. I was therefore enthusiastic to hear Tricia Griffith, CEO of Progressive Corporation say,

The best run companies do more. They put the customer first and invest in their employees and communities.”

This is what I call being purpose-driven, operating not only for financial gain, but also with a regard to the impact the company has on others. And indeed, this is worth celebrating.

Typically, investing in employees has meant providing professional development, salary and benefit increases, equal pay for equal work. In fact, all of these were listed in the Business Roundtable’s statement. When implemented, I’m sure employees will find such improvements to be meaningful.

But after reading the Roundable’s pact, I came away asking, what if it were more than that? What if these self-professed purpose-driven organizations were willing to invest in their employees and support them to be purpose-driven individuals? The research says that purpose and fulfillment at work, are difference makers, not just for organizations, but also for those who work for these organizations.

In fact, the 2015 Workforce Purpose Index reported that only 28% of Americans are fulfilled in their work. Fulfillment is created when people connect their daily experiences to their identity, past experienc­es and aspirations. This is what Imperative calls a “Purpose Mindset.”

"Only 28% of Americans report being fulfilled in their work." - 2015 Workforce Purpose Index

Why does a purpose mindset matter? Because according to the research, Purpose-Oriented Workers have better outcomes than their peers:

· 20% longer expected tenure (healthy retention)

· 50% more likely to be in leadership positions (strong leaders)

· 47% more likely to be promoters of their employers (brand loyalists)

· 64% higher levels of fulfillment in their work (happy people)

Now what company does not want does not want to see these types of results?

Purpose is the difference maker!

I have learned in my work that too many people are operating focused primarily on DOING well, but they are not necessarily adept at BEING well. The same can be said of many Fortune 500 companies. While they are often performing and yielding high dividends and DOING well, they seem to be questioning whether they are BEING good in the world. It is at this crossroads that I propose companies do something new, and invest in their employees in a different, revolutionary way.

The ability to know oneself is a competitive advantage, for the employee, and the employer. Rather than only offering training that only help employees to improve critical skill sets, why not also invest in training that supports individuals in changing their mindsets, understanding who they are, what they value, what makes them unique and how they can better apply that awareness in their role.

My experience has shown me, that this is truly transformational work, and that this approach is the difference maker!

The intent to bet on PEOPLE has been placed. I’m convinced that if that bet is rooted in helping people to be their best selves, both the individuals, companies and society will yield great dividends.

Wanting to find opportunities that help people find purpose?

MyGPS, (My Guided Personal Story), is an experiential learning experience designed to help individuals discover, develop and maximize their purpose. For information, email erica@purposefullseed.net. We’d love to hear from you!

Check out our video on how MyGPS impacts our youth here.

Imperative, studies the science of purpose and employee fulfillment. Learn more about them here.

Erica L. Harris is Owner and Chief Purpose Coach for PurposeFULL Seed in Chicago. She’s a co-facilitator for the MyGPS program and a certified Purpose Coach through Imperative.

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