I believe in... purposeful organisations

I believe in purposeful organisations

I really do. Actually in the necessity to work and be part of a purposeful organization. We spend so much time of our life at work, around 1728 hours per year, circa 2920 hours/year  spent with sleeping at an average of 8 hours/night and  the rest remains our “conscious” life, if we live such a life.

No matter what paradigms shifts are in place right now inside the workforce, globally or locally, we are still living one third of our adult life at work.  Inside a team, among or with cables, screens, colleagues, leaders, headaches, achievements, failures, misunderstandings, targets to reach, problems to solve and lists to do.


Most probably that is why I take it as an obligation to myself to believe in purposeful organizations and to integrate this belief into a bigger picture: into my life. Because in the end, it is all about living a purposeful life.  


It is up to you what you leave behind you. It is about seeing yourself as part o a bigger whole, aligning with yourself and the rest of the world, sharing, listening, respecting, caring, learning and finding a meaning in everything we do. Simply stated: being a human being. I searched for a word to express this idea in a single word but I found it only in German: "Dasein".

It is about everything that matters to you that drives you further and makes you… at least accomplished, if you do not believe in the “happy” state any longer.

In the current extremely pressurized and competitive environment in which we have to work, people either burn out or leave.  And I would not blame globalization, recession, competition, the need for growth, tough performance targets for this pressure we feel in our bones and minds. Because most of the time, we put ourselves and the others on pressure, in a highly absurd way. We are talented in making everything more complicated and stressful than it is and in complaining afterwards. We are more skilled in victimizing and blaming than in dreaming and visioning. Personally I prefer to live and die as a dreamer than to be continuously in search of… nothing.


What is a purposeful organization? Sometimes I find it easier to define something by telling what it is not. It was much easier for example to find 100 things that I do not like about me and awfully difficult to find 100 things I like or love about me. I realized with the occasion of that exercise that I was the biggest Judge of myself. And the only solution to do the exercise and become capable of seeing also the beauty, not only the beast in myself, was to… kill the Judge. But this is another story.


So… a purposeful organization is not an organization made out of robots. Neither a place where everybody is shouting to everybody, never listening to each other and never reaching to a common point. It is also not a place for those who are unable to see beneath their own interest and accept the general interest, that of the whole organization. In a purposeful organization workers are not apathetic about the products they’re selling, and they do not avoid doing something for the community (social teambuilding).


For sure a purposeful organization is not built on the old paradigm: "pay me X in order to deliver you Y". I would call this paradigm “conditional performance”, as it is similar with conditional parenting or conditional  love: “if you do X, I’ll give you Y” . "If you are a good kid, I’ll buy you a new toy”.  “If you love me, I’ll marry you.” Really? Where is that written?

So what is a purposeful organization? Now it is easier to explain it.

A purposeful organization is…

A place with people able to think with their own head, to create something out of nothing, to communicate, and when I say communicate I really mean communication, not the simple act of speaking more or less loud at someone while this someone is not hearing you because of the complex internal dialogue on the topic “ what to tell you in order to crush you and win the first place on the podium”. It is a place where employees feel like they’re working for something greater than just profit.  A place to align to a compelling organizational purpose. Or call it team effort if you want to chunk the idea down. Or whatever.


Important is that is has a purpose. And if it has a purpose, for sure it embed its values into the business, a business born out of a vision, and to this recipe are added other obligatory ingredients like principles and some common sense rules, a structure, character, people leading by example not by diplomas or brut force.


It has a culture. A culture of purpose. It has results on long term not only on short term, success and of course… talent. That is why talent management has been developed to such an extent: we need more than ever talents. A talent being in my view that person who chooses to step out his normality circle and makes the impossible: possible. As simple as that.

Even if you are not working into such an organization, you can do something to turn it into a purposeful organization. The same with your life. If you are leaving a disconnected, meaningless life, it’s only up to you to change it. Difficult is not how you do it, because we are genetically programmed to always find a way, a solution. Difficult is to find the answer to one of the most important question in this life “who am I?” and then decide what to do. Based on this decision, your life will get a meaning, two meanings or none. And your work, too.


And because I totally agree with PunitRenjen, Deloitte’s chairman, when he says “It’s not just enough to talk about a culture of purpose," I’ll shortly mention some examples of activities in our organisations that are meant to be a link between intent and actual execution in creating a purposeful organization. Almost every day we are spending around 10-15 minutes doing improvisation games (a sort of indoor teambuilding), communication exercises, in which we learn a lot of things: about ourselves, about the others, about trust, confidence, about putting yourself in the shoes of the others, about caring and sharing with each other, about mind mapping and unleashing our creativity. We are focusing a lot on mentoring and coaching. A space with tools for growth is indispensable if you want to build a motivated and talented team. And we want that. Don’t we?

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