Season 7 Episode 3 : Rachel Fichter, S&P Global, and Purpose: ’You can’t just come up with a Purpose that doesn’t match who you are’

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


Wall St might not be the most obvious place to find a company with Purpose. But when we meet someone like today’s Season 7 ‘Is Purpose Working?’ podcast guest, and they say things like, “If purpose is an articulation of the reason for existence, we end up articulating something we were already living,” then—maybe we’re in the right place after all.

Meet Dr Rachel Fichter, once a professional cellist and educator who now spends her days helping colleagues accelerate progress in the world by providing intelligence essential for companies, governments and individuals to “make decisions with conviction”… in other words—live out the company Purpose statement. The company in question she’s doing all this at is the world’s leading provider of credit ratings S&P Global, where she’s the 22,000-strong company’s Global Head of Talent and Leadership.

What’s really interesting is that her company is also helping its customers better orient to a Purpose perspective, by creating environmental social and governance information products that help investors better evaluate companies around important metrics like climate change to social justice, as well as help clients understand where it stands with respect to those increasingly critical KPIs. On the podcast, Rachel tells RedThread Research’s Stacia Sherman Garr and I all about her journey to such a position, and why Purpose could matter for a global financial data and analytics company like S&P.  So, a definite important contribution today to us gathering the inputs to try and answer our question of, ‘Is Purpose Working?’ Like me, if you’re interested in how questions around how talent management, leadership development, executive coaching, organizational development, culture, and workplace Learning factor into the Purpose discussion, then you’re definitely going to want to hear Rachel’s thoughts.

Finally, another reminder that all this ‘Is Purpose Working?’ work is set to peak in a live, online gated experience where Dani, Stacia and I will debate all the Learnings from Season 7 that have come through, with inputs including today’s great discussion with Rachel. There, you will be able to get your question about anything she or our other Season 7 guests have raised—but to get your questions in nice and early, lock-in your free place at the webinar over at the special NovoEd microsite supporting the project,

You good? Great—so now, let’s hear from Rachel explain how you go from the New England Conservatory to the heart of American finance, why L&D is deliberately decentralized at S&P Global, as well as:

  • why we need to stop saying ‘talent’ (hint: is that all we value in this person?)
  • how S&P has adopted a consciously ‘Agile’ approach to delivery these past couple of years
  • reimagining the performance experience and what that looks like
  • the importance of the 2019 Business Round Table Purpose statement to S&P’s new focus on Purpose
  • why there are still Purpose challenges and trade-offs
  • why, if Learning is now everyone’s responsibility, so is Purpose
  • why everything she does is like interpreting a musical composition
  • and much more.

Rachel is on LinkedIn here and her employer is here

Rachel found this book very insightful and a great resource fir business leaders interested in understanding but more importantly fending off organizational drift in their firms:

What Happened to Goldman Sachs: An Insider’s Story of Organizational Drift and Its Unintended Consequences Steven G Mandis

RedThread’s Purpose work is here

The Season’s microsite and online registration for the final webinar next year is over at

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