Skip to content

Future of Work = A Culture of Meaning and Purpose

January 19, 2016

In a Future of Work Infographic  we researched the top ‘trends’ that are shaping the future of work.

One of the infographic statistics states that 68% of employees feel their company doesn’t create a culture in which employees have a sense of purpose and meaningful impact. (

My purpose is to help leaders speed up what is needed for future of work by doing what is needed NOW!

If nearly 70% of employees are disengaged, lack connection to the company brand and do not feel ‘connected’ to their work or workplace in a meaningful way what does that mean for you and for your company?

In my book The Art of Change Leadership I interviewed a number of leaders in organizations where meaning and purpose are a focus and these companies are thriving not only in business growth and customer happiness but also with employee happiness and engagement. It’s really only been the last few years that meaning and purpose are getting ‘attention’ from business – it is with the influx of Gen Y’s into organizations that a purpose culture has become a ‘thing’.

In the past a common attitude among Traditionalists and Zoomer (baby boomer) leaders was that providing ‘jobs’ was their purpose. A common phrase I often hear is, “they should be just glad they have a job”. This is an old school attitude.

Employee attitudes are quickly evolving – employees don’t want just a job and often they will leave after a short period of time if they do not feel connected to the company, its leaders or a common purpose. In a number of exit interviews I have conducted many employees cite lack of leadership, doing soulless work and feeling undervalued as the reason they left.

This isn’t just a Gen Y attitude – employees of ALL generations are seeking meaning, growth and purpose in their work.

Take Omnitel as an example – a company I write about in my book – the leadership realized that to be a dynamic and customer focused business they needed to equip their people with a sense of belonging and a sense of contribution and a common purpose. The senior leadership of Omnitel made big and bold moves to shift the focus to transformation and to create a culture where everyone at all levels were valued. They have made a consistent commitment to employee development, to connecting what the business does to the individual purpose of each employee. This has resulted in an employee base who has higher levels of trust , who feels confident to share ideas and who are committed to growing the business as a team.

In my interview with Omnitel both Josh and Gary admit its not easy to stay the course with the commitment to a culture of purpose and meaning – it requires consistent focus and action to keep everyone on path. However easy rarely means extraordinary and both of them recognize that to create an extraordinary culture there needs to be extraordinary leadership skill and learning opportunities for their people. I consider both Josh and Gary evolutionary leaders.

The future of work now requires leaders in organizations to focus on creating a meaningful culture as an imperative. The type of culture that increases meaning and purpose is a culture that consists of evolutionary leaders.

What is an evolutionary leader?

A leader who has mastered and integrated the following components of leadership:

  • The everyone is a leader approach as foundational values
  • Change leadership that includes flexibility, agility and adaptability skills
  • Transformational leadership that focuses on a transformation approach to people and processes
  • Shared leadership where everyone has a vital role and because of a culture of shared purpose and meaning all talent is valued
  • Evolutionary leadership skills – the ability to hold multiple perspectives and go beyond process and see the interconnection of all people and processes.

Where does anyone learn these elements AND put them into practice to create a meaningful culture?

We have the place! We are launching the online portal for all of the above components and it is video training with downloadable resources as well as the option to work with a coach to integrate the learning into workplace application.

We are launching Evolutionary Leaders Network in the next month or so and you can be the first to know when it is ready by going to

The three ways to create a culture of meaning and purpose are:

  1. Train and grow your leaders and teams to be ‘evolutionary’ leaders focused on self created meaning linked to business purpose and meaning
  2. Create a strategic plan that puts ‘culture’ as a top priority right up there with product development, sales and operations.
  3. Create a group of ‘change leaders’ that are willing to shift attitudes towards ‘cultures’ that are meaningful and to see the value of linking purpose to work for all of the employees.

Is it easy? Nope – but is it a competitive advantage imperative? YES!


Cheryl’s newsletter

The latest insights on the future of all things delivered straight to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.