Blog 2 of 6: Reimagining the context of work: Leading with Purpose

“Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better.”  ~ Bill Bradley

How are purpose and leadership related? Great question, here’s what we think.

“Purpose without leadership is like a fish on a bicycle.” ~ Whitney Vosburgh
“Leadership without purpose is just management.” ~ Charlie Grantham

This series of blogs is about the interrelationships of two major factors. First, there is the continuum that grows from identifying what your purpose is to where that is lived out, and ultimately what you do to manifest purpose at work. Succinctly: Purpose, Place and Practice.

The other factor, which can be thought of as what is your relative social position in or to work organizations. There are many definitions of this organizational role. We are simplifying those dimensions to three categories: leadership, management and those independents we call ‘creative catalysts of change’. It’s a new category that we think plays the protagonist in the New Story of Work. In essence, these catalysts are those in our society who continuously practice creativity and invention.

It is not our aim here to engage in a definitive discussion of organizational structures. Our goal is to give you some conceptual tools to reimagine the context in which these roles bring purpose to life and to work. To us, it looks like this:

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Part 1 of 6: Reimagining the Context of Work: Why Purpose?

Purpose aka “Your reason for getting up in the morning.” ~ Bryan Dik PhD

Work is not working anymore

We live in an increasingly purposeless world filled with purposeless work. The Old Story and its attendant social institutions, which have risen over the past 500 years, were designed to promote continuous growth; first through extraction of non-renewable resources, later by industrial efficiency, and now through manipulation of financial systems and cronyism. These institutions are no longer life affirming, nor supportive of personal well-being (integration of spirit, mind and body), let alone human wholeness (integration of individuals into a greater whole).

Work is a central human activity, which provides sustenance, community, meaning, identity, and now we realize, well-being and wholeness. We focus on it because it is universal – irrespective of political affiliation, religion or culture.

Shared purpose is the social-psychological glue, which binds humans together. It is the commonly held belief, which informs our attitudes and ultimately our behavior.

Why is it important now? Because humankind has reached a point in its evolution where it can consciously choose its pattern: creation or destruction? Is it going to be global warming, warring or warning?

This is our manifesto about purposeful work and the purpose of work. It is a declaration of our intentions, motives and views on the topic – our purpose is your purpose at work.

Purpose: Find Your WHY – your guiding North Star.

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DOA Cities Epiclogue 1: The Perfect Firestorm – 9/12, Our New 9/11.

Walking y/our talk

We’re practicing what we preach… what we wrote about in our 4-part DOA series is now being testing in real-time in real world circumstances. No posturing and pontificating professors here.

As luck would have it, one of us (Whitney) had a devastating direct experience of a community arriving DOA in the 21st century. Actually, his community isn’t DOA – but is on serious life support and will be in ER for a long time to come. Whitney and his wife has a country home in Anderson Springs, CA. He will be forever grateful that his is one of the few that escaped destruction.

Valley Fire

On September 12th a raging forest inferno, called the Valley Fire, (the fastest moving and third worst fire in CA history) swept through Anderson Springs in Lake County like a blowtorch. 90% of homes were destroyed leaving less than 20 structures standing, 1,000 residents displaced and 2 dead. An absolutely horrible way to be thrust into thinking about rebuilding, revitalizing and becoming a sustainable community.

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