Why Purposeful Leadership is essential in a VUCA world

Having a purpose that people can connect to is critical for growth.

There is little doubt amongst business leaders that we are operating in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world. VUCA is now the norm as we face challenges such as; Brexit, technological disruption and changing political and economic landscapes. The scale of the challenge leaders face is supported by a recent report in which 66% of CFOs say, ‘it is more challenging to be a company leader today that it was 5 years ago.’

Consumers and employees are looking to engage with businesses that have a clear sense of purpose, which they can relate to and connect with in such turbulent times.

Organisations that have successfully grown over 10 years by more than 20% each year share a number of things in common. 43% of CEOs said: ‘Having a purpose that their people can connect to was critical to their growth and success.’

Defining your Purpose

Spending time defining your organisation’s purpose, making it clear and putting it at the heart of your business is the starting point of Purposeful Leadership. Where it is strong employees and customers engage with it, it attracts and retains talent, and leads your customer experience.

Lead Authentically and with Consistency

Defining your purpose takes time and courage. Once you have clarity it is essential that your Leadership Group consider and commit to how they want to act and behave as a team. This will involve frank and challenging conversations to ensure behaviour is aligned and authentic. Achieving authenticity and consistency is essential in gaining engagement to the organisation’s purpose and for maximising the business benefits that result in the clarity Purposeful Leadership provides.

Breaking down Silos

By having a Purpose that defines the ‘why’ of your organisation, supporting values and Leadership behaviours create a reason to operate as one business towards a shared goal. In today’s ever evolving business environment where change and agility is the norm and essential to survival, businesses must break down silos, work across functions and in partnerships with suppliers. Purposeful Leaders create alignment, look for synergies, spend time engaging and developing others and create an environment where relationships and knowledge=sharing are an important part of how they operate.

Simon Sinek’s TED talk “Start with why - how great leaders inspire action” is an inspiring watch if you want to explore this further

Making a Difference to the Wider World

Increasingly employees, consumers and leaders want to be associated with products and organisations that are making a contribution to the wider world, whether this is choosing to engage with a business that is carbon neutral, plastic free or philanthropic in their approach. Therefore it is becoming increasingly important that leaders uphold the purpose of their business, have a clear ethical stance and strong moral compass, which is even more essential in times of turbulence and change. Purposeful Leaders create a climate where change happens fast, innovation across teams is continuous and everyone is able to challenge decisions that are not aligned to the ethics and Purpose of the business. CSR activity is an integral part of how the business operates and this fits with the business strategy.

Promoting Wellbeing and Engagement

By creating a strong organisational Purpose, employees are able to connect with the business; they are contributing to something they believe in. This results in greater employee engagement and productivity, improved customer service and a shared desire to succeed. Research shows that wellbeing and resilience is highest when there is a strong sense of purpose. Purposeful Leaders build successful organisations by leading others to create engagement. They believe in developing people, praising success and building resilience in others.

In Summary

Purposeful Leaders start with the ‘why.’ Creating clarity throughout their business, they lead with authenticity, create an environment where innovation across teams is the norm, employees are engaged, developed and rewarded and they build trust , allowing everyone to make decisions in line with the ethics and values of their business.

To learn more meet us at the Brathay CIPD stand in Manchester on the 6th and 7th of November, join one of our 2019 Purposeful Leadership workshops in Leeds or Ambleside or contact us