Purpose @ work: Working in the sector might not be ‘good’ enough

Purpose is the new zeitgeist, and for those of us in the sector, we know that we are already a step ahead in terms of happiness at work. Or are we?

After 25 years of social sector strategic advice, it has become my view that for effective execution of strategy, leaders must tap into the individual purpose of teams and build connection and trust by showing them how individual purpose can be aligned to organisational mission and purpose.

Even after this experience, I guess I was assuming that just because you work in the social sector, it means you instantly get purpose in your work. I was going along the lines that the rest of the world is catching up with this idea of purpose at work.

The conversations in the LinkedIn feed were really interesting. The first responses told me those who worked in and around the social sector felt strongly that purpose was a very important part of their work and life, and that they would not go back to a workplace that lacked this.

But, as is always the case in a group dialogue, the sceptics soon had me asking a question: while social impact, change and justice are key drivers for where we work, do each of us actually feel aligned to our organisation’s social purpose?

Just because we work in a not-for-profit, philanthropic office, social enterprise or government agency, does this mean we feel the warmth of purpose in our work life?

To read the full Third Sector article, click here.

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