Beyond Doing Good: 6 Mindset Shifts for Purposeful Leadership

Center for Creative Leadership conducted in-depth interviews with 20 C-suite leaders and board directors across Asia to uncover the shifts and skillsets required for purposeful leadership.

Beyond Doing Good: 6 Mindset Shifts for Purposeful Leadership

As the year 2022 will hopefully see enterprises emerge from the shadows of the extended pandemic, leadership teams will need to nurture organizational purpose, making it more central in culture, business strategy, and talent engagement.

Center for Creative Leadership, a top-ranked, global provider of leadership research and executive development, conducted in-depth interviews with 20 C-suite leaders and board directors across Asia to uncover the shifts organizations must make as they evolve into more socially accepted and financially better-off versions of themselves in the future.

Turning the Spotlight on Corporate Purpose & Purposeful Leadership 

The recent pandemic that has plunged the world into social, environmental, and economic challenges has played a key role in turning the spotlight on corporate purpose and purposeful leadership.

The disruption has awoken boards and leadership teams to the reality of the need to lean toward stakeholder capitalism rather than shareholder capitalism for long-term financial, social, and talent sustainability.

Societies are more aware and more demanding on businesses to balance commercial and social sustainability. Communities are holding organizations more accountable for their actions. People do not want a transactional relationship with organizations that are only in the business of making money; they are looking for more meaning in their work.

Investors are more supportive of organizations that play a more balanced role in the social, economic, and environmental space. Even leaders are more reflective of the alignment between their personal values and the organization’s purpose. 

Organizations therefore must look deep within and identify, communicate, and live their purpose authentically. Purposeful leadership is needed now, more than ever before.  

6 Must-Have Traits for Purpose-Led Leadership

Center for Creative Leadership uncovered 6 mindset shifts organizations must make as they prepare themselves for a future where purpose will play a key role in their business success, social acceptability, and talent attractiveness.

1. Altruism to Impact

Purpose-led companies successfully balance social value and economic value generation. 

This shift requires the purposeful leadership skill of multi-dimensional sensemaking: To think and act on multiple planes — to quickly scan potential opportunities, risks, and stakeholder expectations and deal with new world situations.

2. Nation-Centric to World-Centric

Organizations must solve global issues, but not in a rigid way, tweaking global initiatives to suit local challenges and cultures.

This shift requires the purposeful leadership skill of influence: The power and the ability to personally affect key stakeholder actions, decisions, and opinions in a matrixed, multi-geography environment.

3. Short-Term to Long-Term

The purposeful leadership team must navigate the paradox of short-term impact and long-term benefits, with the purpose being the guiding light. 

This shift requires the purposeful leadership skill of courage: The ability to take appropriate action steps, even in the face of adversity and pressures.

4. Exclusive to Inclusive

Inclusive growth requires an ecosystem approach, focusing on the well-being of employees, customers, suppliers, communities, and the environment.

This shift requires the purposeful leadership skill of humility: Recognition and acceptance of reality through self-awareness and open-mindedness. Humble leaders have a realistic sense of their own capabilities in relation to others and the situation at hand.

5. Organizational to Personal

For strong alignment, leaders must believe in the power of purpose, cultivate individual purpose, and ensure authenticity.

This shift requires the purposeful leadership skill of inspiring others: Enhancing the potential of people in a way that works for them and encourages them to push themselves, achieve more, reach their potential, or embrace a cause.

6. Why to How

Organizations must seek answers to “how,” which involves action framework, practices, communication strategy, and alignment of purpose and culture.

This shift requires the purposeful leadership skill of strategic thinking: The ability to understand an organization’s long-term strategy and come up with effective plans in line with the organization’s business objectives within the local/regional/global socio-economic-environmental context.

To learn more about the 6 mindset shifts required for purposeful leadership, download the white paper at this link