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  • Carolyn Butler-Madden

How to engage your people and create a positive culture



What happens if your business purpose, isn’t shared by your employees?


Ownership of your purpose by your people is vital, because ultimately it is your people that will shape and take the actions that will move your organisation forward on its path to purpose.


But what does ownership mean?


It means that your purpose resonates with them emotionally.


It means that they believe it to be true, or that it can be true, because it comes from a place of authenticity. They believe your organisation has the desire and ability to make a stand on this issue.


It’s important to be realistic. Not everyone is a raving optimist. Many people have been burnt by empty promises by their employers in the past, so while some of your people may jump on board the bus with child-like enthusiasm, impatient to get going; others will need to see some meaningful action before they commit; evidence that this isn’t just hot air coming from the leadership team. It’s a journey and the journey will be different for each person. Building and nurturing ownership of your purpose for the people in your organisation is the role of leadership.


So how do you get ownership?


You have to bring your people on the journey.


Don’t present them with a highly finished and detailed purpose strategy, leaving nothing to the imagination. Give them the foundations and invite them to build on them.


Sharing the journey you’ve undertaken in developing your Purpose provides the foundations. Once you’ve done that, ask for their feedback. Encourage discussion. Invite them to think about and share what it could mean for them in their role. Ask them what other ideas it inspires for them.


How you do this will depend on your organisation size, culture and geographical disbursement.


Ideally, a workshop or a series of workshops, will encourage a healthy exchange of ideas to begin with. The ideas that come out initially are likely to be the tip of the iceberg. As with anything, as changes occur around us – within our environment, to the market, to people’s needs and to societal culture, new opportunities and challenges will arise. Your Purpose should guide you and your people through these changes and will inspire new initiatives and innovations.


Frame some questions around your draft Purpose statement. Some examples of what these questions could be are:


What are we already doing well that aligns to our Purpose?

This question builds credibility. If people can see you’re already on the path, even in small ways, it will give them confidence.


In what ways can we bring our Purpose to life internally at this organisation?

Get them thinking about what they can do personally. It’s a great starting point for action.


In what ways can our Purpose guide how we serve our clients/customers/consumers?

Move the lens to the people you serve.


How might our Purpose serve society?

Widen the lens further.


What extraordinary possibilities could we achieve if we removed our limiting beliefs of what our organisation is capable of?

Take them on a journey from thinking about what you’re already doing, to exploring what some of the easy possibilities may be; to the possibilities that will take some effort. Then invite them to be ambitious and courageous, asking them what some extraordinary possibilities your Purpose could inspire.


I once ran a workshop with a client, where they flew their entire team from Byron Bay down to Sydney, with all thirty-five of their people joining us for the half-day workshop.


In just one-half day session, the team uncovered an abundance of opportunities for the business; internal and external initiatives.


Ideas that would enhance the culture of an organisation that already had a wonderfully strong culture.


Ideas that would improve client outcomes.


Ideas that would have societal impact and that formed the basis for them to take a leadership role in their sector. Transformational opportunities.


So what do you then do when you have all of these ideas? It can be overwhelming and a sense of reality can start to creep in. How do we do start this when we already have so many commitments in our day-to-day roles?


I’ll be answering these questions in our next free webinar on Tuesday Sep 7,12:30pm – 1:30pm (AEST). In the webinar I’ll be covering techniques and strategies to rally your people around your purpose, so you can unlock its full potential.


FREE WEBINAR SERIES- People & Culture-

Tue Sep 7, 12:30pm – 1:30pm (AEST)


Action is the single-most fundamental characteristic of being a purpose-led business. The engagement of your people establishes the foundation for the action your organisation will take, towards the change you are committed to achieving.


I want to help you take this action. So on the Tuesday the 7th of September, I’m going to be taking a deeper dive into how you can engage your people to take ownership over your business purpose and create a thriving culture. We’ll be building on the foundations we’ve covered in this blog and how you can action them, so you can start getting your business on a path to purpose.


This webinar is part two of a six part webinar series covering the six pillars of purpose. You can also register for individual webinars.


...AND for every webinar attendee we also provide one day of education to a girl in need, to create strengthened family and safer communities. So if you have someone that you think might be interested in this series- bring them along!


Find out more here…



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