Strategic integration of purpose

Over 40 business leaders and academics gathered at the Møller Institute on 14 December 2018 to hear, amongst other things, how Unilever has driven business performance through strategic integration and alignment of organisational purpose.

Unilever has been a purpose-driven company from its origins. Today, their purpose is simple but clear – to make sustainable living commonplace.

The Møller Institute and International Leadership Association joined forces again to bring together the worlds of business and academia and design and deliver a purposeful symposium to explore how alignment of organisational and personal purpose can drive business growth.

The Symposium brought together a powerful combination of CEOs, C-suite and HRDs from successful global organisations together with world-renowned leadership scholars to answer the question:

How can we ignite organisational and individual purpose to drive business performance and societal impact?

No video ID entered.

The full report can be viewed here:

Those at the symposium heard from a stellar line-up of purpose gurus including:

Tim Munden

Chief Learning Officer, Unilever

  • What is organisational purpose and why is it important for business now?
  • How Unilever’s organisational purpose has been delivered through the Sustainable Living Plan
  • How can you ignite purpose with leaders, teams and individuals?

Sudhanshu Palsule

Møller Institute Co-Director of the Explorer Mindset senior leadership development programme, expert on Purpose and author of The Social Leader: Redefining Leadership for the Complex Social Age (2014), and other books including Managing in Four Worlds. From Management Education to Civic Reconstruction, and Personal Leadership: African Style.

Sudhanshu presented his ideas and research from his forthcoming book, Rehumanizing Leadership: Purpose, Empathy and Shared Meaning, and explore the following areas:

  • The Purpose of Purpose
  • Re-humanizing leadership: purpose in the 21st century

Dr Gill Hickman

Møller Visiting Leadership Scholar and Professor Emerita of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. Award-winning author with an expertise in the power of purpose, management, organisation theory, organisation behaviour, and human resource management. International Leadership Association Lifetime Achievement Recipient.

Gill presented from her research for the book, The Power of Invisible Leadership: How a Compelling Common Purpose Inspires Exceptional Leadership.

Charles Wookey

CEO and Founder of A Blueprint for Better Business, an independent registered charity helping businesses be guided and inspired by a purpose that benefits society. Charles explored how businesses can use their purpose to create long term sustainable performance.

John Heiser

CEO, LabVantage Solutions, Incl, USA and International Leadership Association Board Member

  • Case study: How company purpose drives performance.

Symposium agenda

This was a co-created symposium between the Møller Institute and the International Leadership Association

14 December 2018, Symposium 09:00-16:30

09:00 Welcome – Cynthia Cherrey and Gillian Secrett

09:10 Set up, purpose of the day – Sudhanshu Palsule

  • How do we want to work together – what do we want to achieve?

09:25 Definition of purpose – Dr Gill Hickman

09:40 What is the purpose of purpose? – Sudhanshu Palsule

  • Research from the new book on the value of purpose by Sudhanshu Palsule
  • The importance of organisational purpose in the context of uncertainty and the fourth industrial revolution.

10:00 The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan – Tim Munden, Chief Learning Officer at Unilever

  • Understanding the flow from organisational purpose to leadership through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, leadership development and company-wide engagement.
  • Embracing organisational purpose and individual purpose and how this is being delivered at Unilever through the sustainable living plan, alongside the work with the leadership team to develop their purpose as leaders.

10:50 Break

11:05 Workshop 1: Review your organisational purpose

Using Sudhanshu’s purpose model with example case studies from:

  • John Heiser, CEO, LabVantage Solutions, Inc
  • Gillian Secrett, CEO, Møller Institute
  • Individuals to review their company purpose using the model and then discuss at tables.
  • Key insights to be shared back into the room.

12:15 Lunch

13:00 Presentation: What do we need from leaders to deliver purpose? – Sudhanshu Palsule

13.15 Presentation, Workshop 2: Embedding organisational purpose – Dr Gill Hickman

  • Research from The Power of Invisible Leadership by Georgia Jones Sorenson and Gill Robinson Hickman.
  • Individuals to work through their own organisational purpose and consider how it can be embedded to drive employees in meaningful work through:
  • Culture, behaviours and lived experience
  • Meaningful reward systems

14:30 Presentation: How should we think about the measurement and tangibility of purpose without undoing the idea? (with examples) – Charles Wookey

14:45 Break

15:00 How can your organisation evaluate and report on the impact of organisational purpose? – Tim Munden and Charles Wookey

  • Table discussion on how to measure the impact of purpose and validate it within an organisation.

15:30 Bringing it all together (summary and close) – Sudhanshu Palsule

16:00 End

On the Thursday evening a number of participants gathered for dinner at the Møller Institute which included a short presentation by Charles Wookey, Co-Founder, A Blueprint for Better Business.