Ginger and EG have a long-standing relationship through the Future Leaders programme, which EG runs in partnership with the UK commercial real estate industry.
The 14 participants consisted of the cross-functional leadership team (responsible for marketing, sales, editorial, product data), plus HR, Strategy and Talent acquisition.
Sean Norris, EG’s Managing Director, had always been fascinated by the concept of purpose-driven leadership. He wanted to put purpose at the centre of what EG does, and reached out to Ginger to host a 2-day programme with the EG Senior Leadership Team.
Sean was curious about how to pull together his whole team to bond around purpose. His challenge was to bring those people close together to have a better understanding of each other and not just through the prism of work.
His brief was clear: to help the leaders connect to themselves and their purpose and also to share that purpose with each other — to witness each other going through this experience.
Ginger’s Purpose Immersion is a step away from business-as-usual, to inhabit purpose from different levels: personal leadership, team and corporate. Each participant is supported to reflect deeply on their higher purpose and to begin to develop a Purpose Statement and Guiding Principles as ways of clarifying and articulating the purpose that drives them in life and leadership.
The retreat is structured around a series of immersive activities to stimulate reflection on Purpose, including visualisation, 1-2-1 reflection, conversation activities, storytelling, peer sharing and giving feedback.
The experience is both bonding on the team level and deepening in terms of their leadership development.
This work draws a line between the little p purpose of “I need to achieve an objective” versus the capital P or the higher purpose of “What am I for? What am I trying to do as a as a leader? What’s my incentive? What is the responsibility that goes beyond this job? What is it that connects me to a sense of meaning?”
This sort of work doesn’t come without its challenges. Some attendees were enthusiastically waving the Purpose flag from the get-go, whilst others weren’t sure what purpose was or how it connected to commercial value. A handful admitted to feeling cynical at the outset (“What is all this woo-woo talk of purpose? Sounds like hippy dippy nonsense to me.”) However, by the end of the immersion, everyone was an enthusiastic convert to Purpose with a capital P.
The desired outcomes of understanding self, understanding why colleagues think and behave the way they do, and a shared understanding of personal purpose were achieved.
Sean comments: “By going through this process, which was pretty magical, people’s understanding of themselves and each other transcends the usual ‘work’ and lets us appreciate the whole self. This has a deep impact as a human and as a leader.
“Witnessing your teammates being vulnerable — really understanding who that person is — creates more respect. It builds trust. By building trust, you build speed and efficiency into your organisation and decision making.
“This pulled the team closer together and created empathy and respect. When you have those, you can really deal with hard moments, you can do the difficult things.”
Sarah Lloyd Hughes, Founder and CEO of Ginger comments: “One of the rising stars of the leadership team has already taken this work back to his team, shared his sense of purpose with them, and then had them all share their purpose back to him. He’s started a purpose cascade. He’s observed a renewed sense of drive and commitment within the team.”
“I couldn’t be happier with what Ginger delivered. I set the vision of what I wanted, and I trusted them to deliver that… and deliver it they did.
“This depth of work on purpose is of critical importance to our senior leadership teams, and Ginger are experts at this. The Purpose Immersion has had and will continue to have a huge, tangible business impact. All SLTs need to be doing this work.”
Sean Norris, Managing Director, is responsible for EG’s performance and strategic vision to make the UK the world’s most data-enabled real estate industry. Sean joined EG in January 2021 and has worked for RELX businesses for over 14 years.
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