Season 7 Episode 1 : Is Purpose Working? A special Learning Futures Group-RedThread Research Exploration

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Get a transcript of this episode, and a special bonus debrief episode at the link below.


Back in August 2019, the Business Roundtable—an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies—said that the Purpose of American business was no longer to maximise shareholder value but to instead promote an economy that ‘serves all Americans.’ “CEOs work to generate profits and return value to shareholders, but the best-run companies do more,” stated one Roundtable member, Tricia Griffith, President and CEO of Progressive Corporation. “They put the customer first and invest in their employees and communities. In the end, it’s the most promising way to build long-term value.”

A lot’s happened since then, as we all know, but multiple events over the first few months of Lockdown seems to bear out the idea that Purpose really has become front of mind for many corporations right now. So we decided to find out more—and in this special new Season on the podcast, that’s what we’ll be doing: answering (if we can) the key question, Is Purpose Working? We’re joined on our journey by the super-smart ladies of RedThread Research, who have kicked off an in-depth, on-going probe into Purpose in parallel to our show.

And even better, we’re being supported by a great ed tech firm equally interested in finding out an answer, too—NovoEd. Global enterprises rely on its collaborative online learning platform to build high-value capabilities that result in real impact, with its customers working to deliver powerful, engaging learning that activates deep skill development, from leadership to design thinking and digital transformation, as well as driving measurable business outcomes. It’s also well worth knowing that the Season culminates in a live online gated experience where I will be debate all the Learnings from the Season with RedThread, and you will be able to debate with us the implications and ask your questions and get your comments heard.

Secure your free place at that today, over at… then listen in to this scene setter, where I and Lead ‘Threadhead’ Stacia Sherman Garr set some goals and identify core Purpose topics, such as:

  • why ‘Why we do what we do’ seems to be the best definition of Purpose we’ve found
  • why ‘cause’ isn’t the same as Purpose
  • why HR needs to get more involved when it comes to Purpose
  • some hints on some of the amazing writers, thinkers, venture capitalists and stakeholders coming on the Season
  • why are people coming together to work?
  • the need to look at all the axes Purpose affects—leadership, people and systems
  • a new concept: the stake-giver
  • a quick progress report on RedThread’s ongoing Purpose research exercise
  • what Purpose in a Pandemic looks like
  • and much more.


Stacia and Dani’s LinkedIn profiles

RedThread’s on-going Purpose work is here

The Business Roundtable announcement is here

Check out an earlier conversation with Dani here

Purpose-driven organisations have actually been around a while: look up Robert Owen in the 1840s and Quaker businesses in 18th C England, for example. To get more background to make your own engagement with Purpose more meaningful, why not check out its roots as well as these great books:

The Enlightened Capitalists: Cautionary Tales of Business Pioneers Who Tried to Do Well by Doing Good

James O’Toole

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World

Aaron Hurst

And one last big shout-out to our season sponsor, NovoEd. Remember to go to and get your FREE front-row seat at that final discussion!

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