Recommended Reading: Leading With Purpose
Purpose comes in many forms, and having it clearly defined as a leader is essential to organisational clarity and viability. With that in mind, the team from the IMI Knowledge Centre have chosen a selection of great books and articles for you to make purpose a central part of your leadership.
Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies
by Nikos Mourkogiannis
In ‘Purpose’, Nikos Mourkogiannis turns the entire idea of leadership on its head and shows that in business, the choice between values and success is no choice at all. He argues that a company must satisfy the need for Purpose – a set of values that defines it and inspires and motivates its employees. Rather than organisation and structure, ideas are what cause companies to go from good to great.
Drawing on the works of the great philosophers and using examples from multiple industries, Mourkogiannis identifies the four major types of Purpose – discovery, excellence, altruism and heroism – and shows how to harness their power to unite and energize an organisation. In an era of corporate scandals and declining morale, the principles revealed here will be indispensable for companies that aspire to meaningful success.
The Northbound Train: finding the purpose, setting the direction, shaping the destiny of your organisation
by Karl Albrecht
Albrecht’s text is a powerful one about strategic vision: what it is, why it’s critically important, how to create it, and how to implement it. The use of a the metaphor of a train helps to focus the attention of leaders on organisational direction, while the author brings together the best of strategic thinking models and methods.
A Fortune Book Club selection, and chosen by the American Management Association for worldwide distribution to its more than 60,000 members, this book is an excellent resource for strategic customer focus.
Living Strategy: Putting People at the Heart of Corporate Purpose
by Lynda Gratton
For corporate strategy to function effectively, the author argues, people must be put at the heart of it. If strategy makers understand their people, they can more smoothly implement organisational change in a more purposeful and thoughtful way.
With statements like ‘People are our most important asset’ and others making the rounds in 2021 more often in the shadow of the pandemic, this book reminds leaders that lip service in this regard is not enough. Rather, living the strategy is the true key to achieving purpose-led organisations.
‘Won’t get fooled again’: How personal values shape leadership purpose, behaviour and legacy
Journal of Management and Organisation, Vol. 25, Issue 3 (May 2019)
This paper focuses on the importance of creating a leadership legacy and the role personal values play within this. The title ‘Won’t get fooled again’ is the authors’ way of reminding employees not to ‘turn a blind eye’ to wrongdoing and to continually strive to ‘do the right thing.’ The authors seek to outline the relationship between personal values and leadership purpose, behaviour and legacy, bringing this dynamic to life through a series of interviews with managers from the financial services industry utilising three core themes: ‘turning a blind eye’; ‘somewhere to hide’ and ‘no-where to hide’ with regards to ethical dilemmas and decision making.
Purpose-led leadership for sustainable business: From the Perspective of Taoism
International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, Vol. 4, Issue 1 (December 2019)
This paper delves into the topic of “purpose” on a different level. With the purpose revolution significantly changing how companies are doing business today, there is a growing consensus among leaders that business exists not to make money, but to make the world a better place to live in. As early as 2,500 years ago, Laozi, an ancient Chinese philosopher, the founder of philosophical Taoism, discovered the role of the Tao or the purpose in life and universe. The paper blends classical Taoism’s wisdom with modern management science to guide leaders to build a responsible and sustainable organisation. It touches on the relationship between CSR, sustainability and the emerging concept of purpose from philosophical, business and Taoism’s perspectives.
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