Please enjoy this transcript of my conversation with Sarah Rozenthuler.
Two part conversation with Sarah Rozenthuler the author of Powered by Purpose: Energise your People to do Great work about, surprise surprise, purpose. Sarah’s work has been widely featured in The Sunday Times and The Guardian. In part 1 we cover how to find your purpose and not give in to the expectations of others as well as why we don't reflect on who we are until our late 20s
Transcript of this episode was produced using transcription software with an approximate 95% accuracy so there might be some typos.
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Purpose questing with Sarah Rozenthuler - part 1
Well, I love that boys and girls. I hope you are enjoying the summer. I definitely am. And that's why we continue with the episode being released every other week, rather than weekly as it was the custom up until now.
Have you ever wondered why is it that so many people want to go to work to do a great job, but feel dissatisfied? Or maybe how can leaders act for the benefit of the people and the planet rather than meeting their own ego needs? Or how can groups and teams become more leaderful?
I've been trying to find answers to these questions together with Sarah Rozenthuler, who is a chartered psychologist, leadership consultant, and dialogue. Coach. With over 15 years experience international experience consulting for big organizations, such as BP or discovery.
Sarah founded her consulting company. Bridgework in 2007 to inspire leaders and strengthen organizations to become a force for good in the world. Her work has been widely featured in the media, including Sunday times the guardian and BBC business online. She's also the author of powered by purpose and amazing book. I highly suggest you read and you can get it off. Amazon, both in printed.
And ebook formats we really enjoyed our conversation and that's one of the reasons it's gone on for nearly an hour and a half. So I decided to split it up into two parts and the first part.
Looks more at individual purpose how you can find your purpose without giving in to the expectations. Of the people around you, your parents, your teachers, the society in general. We also have an interesting conversation about why is it that we don't really reflect on who we are, what we want from life, what our purposes.
Until we are. In our late twenties, early thirties, which is a fascinating discovery for me personally. I think it might be for a lot of you as well.
In the second part, we talk more about the organizational purpose. So basically how can leaders start identifying their purpose? What business practices we need to evolve? Change. Or leave behind. And how to work on purpose in remote or hybrid settings. Here's my conversation with Sarah Rozenthuler.
Lech: [00:02:40] First question that I like to start with because it leads to very, very interesting places is when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:02:50] oh, there's a few answers to that. Librarian would be one, a teacher would be another. When I saw the movie grease, all I wanted to do was married John Travolta and be a kind of like rock stars, wife. And there was a brief time I wanted to be a stand-up comic. So a bit of a range.
Lech: [00:03:15] A bit to say the least I've I've, I've asked this question to, to a number of people and they tend to either be like multiple roles, but centered around the same topic, or at least it's something that very specific, I dunno, an airplane, airplane, pilot, or a writer or some, something like that. Very specific.
I've never had the broad range like that. I've always also tried to connect this to what the person does at the moment. And I'm trying to think, how does that connect for you as that potential of any of those three materializing in what you do at the moment?
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:03:50] Joining the door is interesting. So I suppose the part of me that wanted to be the librarian or teacher. Yeah. Would connect with the part of me that enjoys writes writing and quiet time. And the more introverted side of me that likes to write in a way that is hopefully entertaining and informative.
So I can see the connection there. And in terms of group facilitation, coaching teams, and then speaking engagements, there really is a performance angle to that. And in fact, it's that combination of both it being something of a performance, but you're playing yourself. You've got to be authentic. I think for people to relate to you, I really love that combination.
So maybe that's where the kind of stand up comic about enjoy having a laugh and being playful. So that's there. And the John Travolta bit is probably just a bit of a passing, was the passing fad.
Lech: [00:04:57] Well, you'd never know. You'd never know it's Mike. I might come back and you know, I'm not a big musical fan, but I, I can, I can see, I can see where you're coming from. I definitely, I dunno your sense of humor. But I can definitely say in terms of being a standup comedian, you do strike me as a person.
First of all, very smiley. You've got a beaming smile on your face as soon as we connect to it. And you're very positive and I really enjoy that about you. So I think there's th th th that's, that's an element there and yeah, Formance aspect of, yeah. If you do need to get up in front of people, but in real life, a virtual that that's simple.
Well, I actually was having a very interesting conversation with an editor sorry. Introvert experts, ether, Lennox. She was one of my guests earlier on a few weeks ago, and we were talking about people have to do presentations and there's a, there's somebody who has to do a presentation to a huge audience.
We're talking a few hundred people and how much. E potentially easier is for an introvert to do that presentation when it's virtual, because instead of a grand room of 500, 600 hundreds of thousand people in front of them, which can be very daunting. All of a sudden they only see that little zoom window of, you know, 24 people or 30 people.
However, however many little faces fit into that. And how, how much easier that can potentially be for an introvert in a way.
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:06:18] Oh, I can feel myself relaxing because you say that. I think that is a great insight. Yeah.
Lech: [00:06:24] Do you class yourself as an introvert or an extrovert? You obviously, we tend to be both of course, but which do you kind of think more of traits you have?
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:06:33] I would say I would describe myself as a sociable introvert. So when I take the official measures, I have?
a corridor score as they call it. So I'm actually quite close to the middle on the introverted side of the line. And I definitely know, I need good amounts of Dame time to re-energize your sign of introversion.
And yet a lot of my day job is very extroverted. So I am a strange mix, but center of gravity is on the introverted side.
Lech: [00:07:05] I once did a test as, as its attempt to do for these. And for the very first time I've done it. I laughed my head off because it literally came out 50, 50 spot spot bang. On, on that particular day, I was buying on and my friend who was, who was doing this, another guest, actually, Allie Medina we used to work together and he was he's a coach and a workshop facilitator.
Now he was accountant back then he w he was laughing. He said, it was just like, so you and I'm going, yep. I've done that test in a little bit time since, and it sways as, as age, but I have to say it's very, very eyeopening to, to. To do these types of tests, just so you, like, it's a bit of a temperature check too, to see where you are to learn about yourself, to have that self-reflection because like, is this true?
Is that, and start, you know, looking at things from a different angle that you otherwise might not be it's so it's, don't hold as gospel and label yourself. Yes. I'm an introvert and you get labeled in that country or extroverted this or that. I just find it very, very limiting self-beliefs most of all, but also limiting potential that when you do get labeled with an organization as, as, as one or the other, I guess
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:08:10] Yes. I like your notion there. If like, you know, it can hold up the mirror to us. And actually, and I know we're going to get onto talking about purpose. I think that is the link with that, because, I mean, I remember for example, the first time I did one of these questionnaires and there was a statement about something like, I don't like going to parties and I sort of looked at it and went, oh, yes, I agree with that.
And it was a bit of a revelation to me. This is many years ago that you could actually confess that you didn't enjoy really going to parties. And so I actually think having that self-awareness about what energizes you, what drains you. Is really helpful for then working out what work really lights you up or doesn't.
So there is definitely a link between self-awareness and purpose and these personality preferences can be part of that.
Lech: [00:09:06] They definitely can. They definitely can, man, since you've mentioned purpose, I think that kind of gives us a nice little segue to what probably will be, is the main topic of our, of our chats. There are many reasons for that. One of which you're, you're definitely an expert in that field, not to mention the book you've written which is fascinating and potentially actually will get me in trouble with Amazon.
And I have to say this out loud because I'm, I'm an ebook reader. And as, as I was reading your book, I was highlighting like mad. A lot of stuff, a lot of stuff that I got out of that book, there is a limit on how much you can export out of Amazon. And I think it's something like 10% and I've gone out to Matic workflow set up that my highlights get exported to Evernote sooner or later, I'm expecting Amazon to go naughty, naughty infringement, rights, and copyright and all sorts.
So if I do get in trouble, I'll let you know. And if I, if I need some help dealing with Amazon, I'd really appreciate that.
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:10:08] I don't know if I'll hold any sway with Amazon, but I could always try and have a quiet word for you taking out the chunks.
Lech: [00:10:17] There's genuine, even, even before we connected today, I was reviewing my notes kind of the thoughts that I've made as I was reading, just to prepare, cause I have to say you're the first person that I'm I have on this podcast. That is a book of their published book offer with such a, such a big reach.
And I wanted to do not only my due diligence, but I think it's just so relevant to our conversation. I wanted to have that background and I fished out so many informations that I think we can explore because first of all, it's, it's a humongous topic and it's so difficult for, for many people. I saw some of the comments and reviews they've been left under your book.
And the one that really caught my eye is I think it was It's the book you wish you had when you were younger and it was just like definitely after reading that I'm kind of going. Yes. Yes, definitely. If I, somebody gave me this book 20 years ago, 15 years ago, I'd be very grateful if I, of course, if I read it, because at that time book reading, wasn't my big thing, but maybe you never know.
But I guess before we dive into all of that in terms of purpose itself, but I'm really curious about your story behind the book in terms of how did you arrive at that? Because we were talking about your, what did you want to be when you were little in the book? You mentioned couple of additional things about how your life post university stand out in term, including your time spent in Spain.
I'm curious, how did all of that come together for you through your, through your studies and afterwards? So actually. Start writing that book. What was the process? Not necessarily process, but what motivated you and maybe how long were you growing that idea inside of you to watch your writing?
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:12:03] No, it's a great question. And again, there's kind of multiple answers. So the book in terms of writing?
Took about four years to write died, a couple of breaks. During that time, looking back, I would say it was cooking inside probably for about 20 years because I've worked as a professional psychologist for about two decades.
And the book is a synthesis of insights along the way, but I can go even further back than that. And. When you ask the question, the first thing that flashed into my mind was actually my dad. And my dad is relevant because the subtitle of the book is energize your people to do great work. And my dad was a civil engineer who really wished he'd been an architect because he's a very creative, artistic man as well as scientific and practical.
But I was one of four kids, so there's no way he could retrain to do architecture. So my dad living with that frustration really encouraged me for as long as I can remember to choose to do work that I really enjoyed. And I also fell into a classic trap. And Freud said that often in our, you know, that one of the unconscious drives we have is to fulfill our parents unfulfilled ambitions.
So when it got round to university choice, and in fact, even before that A-level exam choice, I thought I wanted to be an architect. And so I did a level, I did physics geography, maths and then ended up, and I tell this story in the previous book or meaningful conversations, having a conversation with my mom just before my final A-level exam, who confronted me and said, I don't think you want to do architecture at university at all.
So I went away and had a good long think about it. Anyway, the upshot of this is that I changed degree course, right at the last minute from architecture to psychology, psychology has turned out to be an excellent choice for me because I'm genuinely interested in people. But it sort of really stems from my dad's encouragement to kind of follow my passion, really, even though I had those, that period of being a bit misguided and quite offtrack, actually, when I look back.
Lech: [00:14:46] I'm not, I'm not surprised that the answer is, is, has so many facets in some way. I'm, I'm actually really happy that you mentioned the, the process that started even before the university degree, that kind of process of a levels. And that switch where you mentioned about your parents vote very common. A lot of the time, obviously it is parents actively do that.
Whether they realize that or not that they put that pressure on their children, but often even to their best intentions, sometimes it just does happen that children do follow that route. Because at that stage of a levels around the levels, we still don't really know what we want to do. And I've discussed this many times with quite a few guests on the podcast that the educational system is, is lacking.
Not, no, not to say that it's broken, although it's certainly could do a little bit of, a little bit of a fix-up. On the university around the university choice is, is that I actually find that the, the time that you refer to as potentially misguided the time that it happened actually is probably the best time it could have happened because a lot of people don't have that experience of just in a way, exploration, trying to find yourself, trying to fail, try and fail again, different things at that early stage in their life, in their early twenties.
For example, when the time is right, when the, when the responsibilities are just not there yet in terms of family mortgages and whatever, and other commitments, but then they don't do that often classic midlife crisis their thirties, their forties, they start going off the rails and that's, that's problematic.
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:16:18] Yeah, I think you're, I think you're wise to underline that I know certainly in my work to this day, and I'm thinking about coaching work and came to people, thirties, forties, I'm going to add 50. So it's a well who are kind of having a rethink. And actually some of that goes back to you having. Sort of to some degree given in to the expectations of parents, teachers, society, more, what, you know, so I went to train, I dunno, to do a law degree, or I went to do an accountancy because my parents said that it's really important to have a secure job.
And I think you're right. You know, the, actually, if that isn't really following your own passion, at some point, the chances are, you're going to notice your energy levels are low and there might even be a sense of like being quite offtrack and getting quite unstuck. And of course, as you've rightly said in your thirties, forties, fifties, when you've got more responsibilities, it's not impossible to change course at any stage.
And yet it can be trickier than in your early twenties.
Lech: [00:17:40] Absolutely. It's, it's always possible to adjust to change. It's just the difficulty and potential consequences costs energy required. However you want to look out because I don't want to put a negative spin on this because that's not, that's what it's not about. It's just, it takes a lot more effort and thought that needs to go into this because I think that's part of the problem though.
We also can get stuck in that. Even if you do the experimentation and exploration in your twenties, early twenties, whatever that means for you and you eventually find your purpose and we want to do in life. Often you don't want to be trapped in that because that's something that grows in the evolves with you.
And I think that's another thing that we often get wrong is that we pick this thing and, you know, we hold on for dear life and you think, you know, you want to be in increased. I'm guessing it comes from our sense of control, wanting to control our lives and our destinies, but then ironically not to bring COVID into the situation, but then something like COVID does happen that shows you that no matter how much control you want to exert on your life, something like that comes along.
And what, what do you do.
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:18:43] Yeah, there are these greater forces that we're all subject to. And I, I really like what you're saying, their rebate kind of growing and devolving, because I think even if we have, even if we're fortunate enough to have, let's say some sense of purpose early on, let's say in our twenties, you know, that, that the healthy route through life will still mean that that evolves in some way.
And I can certainly relate to that. You know, actually being a, let's say a conventional occupational psychologist, which is what my degree and post-grad had prepared me for. Turned out actually not to be that fulfilling. Once I was about four years into that and I got chartered and rubber stamped as a professional and I, you know, chain kind of changed track again about around the age of 30.
So being open to change, you know, having that growth mindset really helps here.
Lech: [00:19:50] I'm sure it does. And actually mindsets and growth and fixed mindset and things like that. That's a topic I want to ask you about, but I'll leave that for a little while, late for a later question, but I'm actually still curious about, because we, we, you you've mentioned your kind of a level years then university, the explorations are in, in, in your, in your twenties when the kids, and maybe how for, for the people who are listening, that might be in the age group and want to start working on their purpose because obviously purpose can be covered in different angles and on an individual level or organizational level.
Similar topics, but in a, in a way also have to be kind of complete differently from an individual personal level. I kind of, how did that come up for you? Where you start going from, this is what you want to do. Psychology. You love working with people to arriving at what you do now, and maybe what is your purpose now?
How would you class that
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:20:49] I mean, I think in a way it's. My purpose is that subtitle of the book, you know, energizing people to do great work. That's what I'm all about. And by great work, great work that fires up the individual, lights them up and also brings. Benefit too. And it could be other people, it might be animals. It might be the environment, but work that
makes a positive difference in the work.
So that's what I'm all about. I've got clearer about that as the years have gone on. And I maybe just share a moment that I had in my late twenties. It was a tiny moment in a way, and it turned out to be quite a turning point. And the context here is I was working in the civil service, one of the big central government departments as an occupational psychologist.
And what that actually meant was I was doing a lot of report writing based on statistical analyses in this case of recruitment tests. And did they have any adverse impact on women, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, very worthwhile work. Did it light me up? Absolutely not. That is not why I became a psychologist.
Anyway, there was A time where I was given a very small project to run, which was to do some focus groups. And these focus groups were very small. There were about three people, but I basically had to go and kind of run these groups. And I went home one day and I just thought, gosh, I've had a really good day at work.
Like that was really energizing. And I somehow pieced it together that it was working with a group and do it. I mean, I don't even know if I knew the word facilitation at that point, but what I caught was the uptick in energy. And this is the thing about purpose. And this is what I would say to people in their twenties in particular, it's like stay close to what your own energy levels are doing.
And I know we can't be high energy. Every day of the week, you know, but what we can notice is like, you know, are you feeling lighter and brighter one day? What's that about? What's the activities? Who are you working with? You know, and if there's a constant sense of like, ah, you know, drain, take that seriously, you know, like really pay attention to that.
And I actually think that's where the purpose questing really begins. Staying close to yourself and your energy levels.
Lech: [00:23:35] I love that purpose questing. That is that is a brilliant term. And yes, we too often have these moments where we just, it's just, it's just a drag. Yes. Sometimes it's part of life. It's not always sunshines and rainbows. We have to deal with that, but it's about separating when it is just. You know, when it's a peak, when it's a trough and when you're constantly in that valley, it's just a question being to ask yourself, these are difficult questions, I guess.
And then you do have to have that moment of keeping your monitoring your energy levels and, and when things starts to fall into place, it often tends to be some sort of, you had one moment where you kind of picked up on the energy levels. Another occasions, it is something that just literally drags you out of that situation.
Something happens a shocking event in your life, whatever that might be, that makes you kind of reevaluate and potentially metaphorically hits you over the head to make you kind of notice things I'm actually quite curious about from a psychological point of view. Why is it so difficult for us when we're in our twenties to think in these long-term perspectives of purpose of staying together with our our energy looking or reflecting constantly, but we find it so much easier when we're in our thirties, because what you've described, many people go through that and I'm going to, I'm going to raise my hand when I start, when I got into my thirties, it's not that I started, you know, re-evaluating my life.
It wasn't that, but it just only just became more efficient in these topics through working with a therapist, through working with psychologists and in this environment, I mean, it's always been an interest of mine. Sure. That helped. But why is it that, that it happens in our thirties. And since you're a psychologist, I thought you might do the right person to ask
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:25:20] Well, I don't know if I've got the answer to that, but I, you know, I think in a way in our twenties with. I mean, you may well have come across the series of some recent theories and research that says, you know, we don't really step into adult hoods until we're in our late twenties. So in some ways, you know, from a physiological point of view, from the neuroscience perspective.
So I think in some ways, you know, it's, it's quite a kind perspective to say that to some extent our twenties could be seen as an extension of those teenage years, you know, a time to experiment, try things, a, you know, there can be lots of concern in teenage years and twenties about what other people think of us.
And so that. External orientation takes us away from what you were describing there about once you got to your 30, you know, that being more open to reflecting on, well, who am I really not being quite so concerned with other people's opinions and it's hard to let go of that in your twenties.
Lech: [00:26:33] take that answer. I think it's a brilliant one. I've never, I've never looked at it that way. It never, I've never heard of the theory that you've just mentioned and the research that's been done, that it's an extent our twenties are basically in extent, extension of our adulthood and in a way that does make a lot of sense on a number of levels.
We still don't know what we want to do in life. We do one degree when we chose, when we chose the difference in three years or four years or five years, depending on what degree you choose between when you choose that. And when you finish, even if it's three years, you complete that stage is completely a completely different person.
How can you make that decision? And that's, that's where, again, it comes back to the educational systems, but I'm not going to bash that topic again because I've done it so many times. And I think it would be a waste of time. Of our time coming, coming back to more of the purpose element, because obviously we we've been discussing on an individual level, but also this topic is so, so important and infuses how we run our organizations.
And in the book you mentioned, obviously there's different elements, different pillars to to kind of the framework that you use and having, having that purpose. And I guess there's also an element talking about younger people and the older generation that shift between when people were brought up in and the difference in our organizations, because you've got people in their thirties, forties coming in, they've got, they're more powered by purpose.
Then let's call them the previous generation, the old guard, if you will. And that comes with a. Transfer wealth of knowledge and thus power as a result. How does that all add up in terms of the impact on, on how we structure our organizations, I guess, and how do we essentially deal with that situation?
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:28:19] Hmm. I mean, when you speak about, you know, people in their thirties, you know, younger people being more powered by purpose, and of course they're going to be increasingly taking up bigger proportions of space in the workplace. I actually feel really excited by that. You know, I think, you know, and it, I think it's a well, documented trend that younger people are looking for more meaningful work.
You know, they don't just want to contribute to the bottom line of the owners or the shareholders of the business. And maybe it's the younger part of me that can really relate to that. I can remember thinking and. Very similar terms in my twenties. So I think one of the things that means is that this. Sort of growing movement towards purpose driven business, towards leadership. That's more purpose led. I don't think it's going to go away. I don't think it's a fat. I do think it's an incoming tide and I know there are people out there that are skeptical. I'm aware of, you know, the dangers of purpose wash and just treating it as a bit of a PR job for an organization when it's not done authentically.
I think it can actually be very damaging, but this question around what are we in business for? You know, who would miss us if we weren't here as an organization? What's the kind of enduring reason that we exist in the first place. I think we're going to see, I think we are seeing in the context of the global pandemic, more and more.
Business leaders grappling with these kinds of questions. So what that means in terms of how organizations are structured, I'm not so sure, but those questions I think are increasingly here to stay.
Lech: [00:30:27] well, that actually brings me on to a question I really, really wanted to ask you based on a couple of things that I've picked out from, from the book there is a mention I think you're quoting somebody else's article don't remember who it is, but it's to do with the 2008 economic crisis where you reflect on the behaviors and the characters of the leaders.
And how that has impacted that situation. How would that, in a way, the failures in leadership around that time has led to the 2008 crisis then in a separate, but linked kind of concept, you also reflect on the left and right hemispheres of our brains that we are dominated by, by our businesses are dominated by left, left brain leaders.
Now these are topics in their own that we can explore which maybe we can touch up on a bit later, but I urge everyone to, to read up on that in, in your book. My question is now, cause hindsight's let's face. It is a beautiful thing. We're all smarter. When we look backwards just to look at the 2008 situation,
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:31:38] yeah.
Lech: [00:31:38] what do you think we will.
How, how will we gauge, how will we assess what are, we'll be able to reflection. If we look back in 10 years, time on what we're going through in 2020 2021 with the pandemic, from, from a leadership point of view, from the good and the bad, what do you think that might be?
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:32:00] I mean, I think it's very interesting what's happening with me to ship at the moment on the back of what happened in 2008 and all the financial collapse and crisis where there was some recognition that some of that crisis could be laid in parts at leadership behavior. And what was going on. I don't know.
There is, you know, documentaries on Netflix and other places where you can see the stories of what happened at Lehman brothers and Enron. And I think that is. In the context of the pandemic, again, less and less tolerance for poor leadership behavior for leaders behaving in ways that are very self-absorbed.
You know, we're seeing this play out today. So, you know, daily, there are articles or there's articles. I read, for example, in the financial times about shareholders, for example, voting against CEO, who's getting, you know, some of the enormous bonuses and pay packages that perhaps five years ago were more acceptable.
So I think things are changing. I think leadership is really in the spotlight. You could say it's always been a hot topic, but I think what happened in 2000 to date has sort of sensitized people to what's happening now. And. You know, I think when I think it was Johnson and Johnson and names last year, that when they brought their vaccine a they wouldn't take the profit element.
It would be not for profit, their share price increase by 6%. And so in our increasingly interconnected world and with social media I think people are getting to be?
more and more in tune about is a business being a force for good in the world or not. I think there is more tuning into that going on.
Lech: [00:34:07] It's an interesting way of looking at that. We, we do in a way demand, I guess, as customers, as individuals that. These are the organizations around us have certain standards. And as you said, this is probably not a topic that's going to go away because it's been around and gaining force for a while, not just purpose, but how we build our organizations from a not necessarily ethical point of view and how it impacts the world, but also internally how we build our organizations and how it impacts the people in those organizations.
Purpose. Obviously, I'm a huge part of that because that guides the decision-making and how people are treated that people are being put first. And you mentioned that numerous times in the book by putting people a purpose first, there was a term that I, that you've found that I absolutely love, and it's definitely going to be one of their use that will be using it's management by numbers.
I always refer to it as putting people ahead of numbers. Which is the same thing, but the management by numbers, fantastic term that if I was, you had to trademark it very, very quickly, because if you don't, I might. But it's, it's, that's what, what often organizations do is that we gain, we gained so much from, from figures.
That's what runs organizations. We need money to fuel our organizations, but let's not cheat ourselves here. We need that, but that's not the end of it. It's the people that are so more important than I think people in organizations outside where I'm more and more looking for. These comes back to the generational change because it's more of a around it.
And I guess your, your definition of purpose and how it links to corporate social responsibility as well.
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:35:47] Yeah, well, it, it links corporate social responsibility. And I think it goes beyond that in significant ways, because it's all about what is that enduring, meaningful reason that we exist. It's about you know, a clear and compelling purpose will guide day-to-day decision-making and a clear purpose.
I think it's necessary, but not sufficient on it. So to create a flourishing organization. And I think you're right to absolutely underlined the people first, putting the people first. And I think there's, my observation would be, and I think there's evidence out there to support that. Actually, if you treat your people well.
you put them first, you make work meaningful through having that.
Clear and compelling purpose, then your organization will thrive and it will actually have strong financial results. So, you know, it's not in any way to dismiss the importance of making a profit and, you know, profit is the lifeblood of many organizations, but it's about coming into right relationship with profit And money.
And the primary relationship is with the people in the organization.
Lech: [00:37:12] And that in a way brings me to yet another question around this of the profit, how we structured, how we build our organizations. Cause you mentioned that it's it's, it's the, it's the, it's the cool term. It's what organizations want to be. Right. And it's not enough just to have a nice, shiny poster with your purpose written on there.
There's, there's definitely more depth to that, there are so many organizations that jump on the bandwagon of having a purpose of being purpose led, I guess, and it then becomes simply a marketing gimmick. How how'd you, how'd you spot that? How, w how'd you go about kind of finding these organizations and maybe avoiding these organizations?
I don't know, how'd you figure out where organizations, because we live in such a polarized world that we are so mistrustful of so many things, especially now with organizations saying one thing, but, you know, there's some dodgy stuff going on behind the scenes sooner or later, it will come to the top as, as we know.
How can we be a bit, I don't want to, they say vigilant, but it's kind of the words that come into my mind in terms of goes on being, being aware of what the what's going on. When, when is the purpose true and the other, any, I don't want to say tips, but suggestions that you can give us in terms of what, how can you put these organizations.
Sarha Rozenthuler: [00:38:34] Yeah. Well, I think one thing is by taking a look at the behavior and actions of leaders. So one example I may have covered this in the book is when a Paul Poleman became CEO at Unilever, you might know that he made the move to move away from quarterly reporting because he quite rightly was very, very clear that the purpose mindset is based on the longer term.
So that actually, if you have a lot of emphasis on meeting short term targets and quarterly reporting, it might actually pull you away from aligning around. Purpose, which in Unilever's case is to make sustainable living commonplace. And that was, you know, he took Unilever on a 10 year journey. And so you could see, and That's just one small example in a leader's behavior that they might actually do something that is, feels a bit risky or might be seen as quite unpopular, particularly in the short term but actually smacks of authenticity and really you know, following through on action.
So it's not just about lofty words or a strap line purpose. Which meant that they potentially were going to gain? I think it was $10 million that they put aside for tax because they changed the environmental law. Patagonia came out and said, well, we're donating that money. I think it was two environmental campaigning organizations, because we're all about not only providing great outdoor clothing, but inspiring solutions to the environmental crisis.
So there, you've got an example of an organization not kind of like grabbing that money and keeping it for themselves, but acting in line with their purpose. And so I think it comes down to, you know, as ever actions are stronger than words and maybe the final or another indicator would be, yeah. Looking at what the organization might decide not to do or what to drop or what it's prepared to sacrifice to be coherent with its purpose.
So one example there would be CVS in the states deciding to no longer sell and stock tobacco as a product when it got really clear that it was more of a kind of healthcare organization. So look to see what's what the decision making is, and what's being dropped as well as what the organization is doing.
Lech: [00:41:26] That's a very, very insightful, thank you very much for sharing that. The examples of the organizations you've given, and I know they are in the book and yet again, I'll point everyone there to, to read up on it. It's fascinating. Patagonia's example of tax is greater, greater as well. The Unilever example, I found really interesting with the Kraft takeover as well.
That was an interesting topic where they, they decided not to do because their purpose didn't align and, and, you know, there's, it's, it's very difficult. It's money on the table. And do you, do you take it, you walk away. And I think these are the, the, the strong leaders that need to, to assess these situations and be able to do that when an organization or leader wants to do some self-reflection and in terms of purpose and around purpose that they want to do some, some work.
What are some of the questions I can, I guess they can ask themselves first to start them on that journey towards identifying the purpose to work, start, start having conversation about purpose. What would you say those questions could be? That they ask themselves.
To find out what advice Sarah has for leaders who want to start working on their individual purpose, as well as the purpose of their teams and their organizations as a whole. Tune in to the next episode, which is the second part of my conversation with Sarah.
In the second part, we also talk about which business practices we believe we need to evolve, change, or leave behind. Altogether. we also cover. How organizations can work on purpose if they are in a remote or hybrid. Setup. Be sure to check it out.