Following a massive investment of time, talent and resources, a global financial institution unveiled its compelling new company purpose statement, with much fanfare, to all 75,000 of its employees. Yet, in spite of the dedicated events, moving videos, and numerous discussions staged to inspire and engage employees with this new company purpose, the end result was that only about 30% of them actually understood and believed in the new purpose.

When properly activated, organizational purpose creates a unifying force and clarity of focus, while increasing creativity and productivity. Yet, as our new client had discovered, deeply embedding a new purpose in your culture and leadership behaviors requires overcoming two key obstacles that traditional communication strategies don’t address:

  1. How do you help people translate this new set of words, this purpose statement, into something they can connect with and own?
  2. How do you help them relate this to their day-to-day activities?


In short 90-minute workshops, we focused on having each person connect emotionally with the purpose statement, then identify how they could access and activate it. The key was for each employee to ascribe personal meaning to the company’s new purpose.
Beginning with 300 of the top 2000 leaders, we helped them discover three critical things:

  • Their own connection to the new purpose
  • The powerful moments where they had already experienced this connection
  • The new purpose’s potential implications for their future.

Following this experience with the first 300 leaders, we leveraged them as facilitators for subsequent workshops, rolling out to the remaining top 1700 leaders. From there all 2000 leaders brought the experience to the rest of the organization over the next 3 months.

CLI Impact

6 Months Later:

  • 92% of employees were aware of the institution’s purpose
  • 73% believed the institution was living the organizational purpose

With this auspicious beginning, CLI was asked to deliver our Purpose to Impact Program for each of the top 2000+ leaders.

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Purpose works

Listen to some of our featured speakers and senior alumni discuss some of the many ways purpose enables the delivery of business objectives and cultural transformation.

Ranjay Gulati
Author, Researcher & Professor, Harvard Business School

Listen in for how Ranjay defines purpose in a way that resonates with individuals and organizations and unveils the true challenge most people have with purpose – focusing on the self AND the consequences for the world.

Victor Saeijs
President, LEGO Education

In this edition of the “Leading from Purpose” podcast, Nick Craig introduces listeners to Victor Saeijs, Regional President for Western Europe at the LEGO Group. His purpose? To “Be the Duracell Bunny that makes my team sell boats in the Sahara.” In this lively discussion, Victor describes how he uses challenging goals and new ways of working to make the impossible possible, challenging his team to reach new levels of performance while simultaneously pushing himself to new heights.

Have a similar leadership challenge or business need?

Have a similar leadership challenge or business need?

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Re-energizing the workforce and bringing purpose alive

Dealing with dramatic growth during a pandemic to connect and engage a remote and global workforce

Developing an agile culture and mindset based on purpose and authenticity

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