The Rigour of Purpose in Governance


This year we embarked on a relationship with The Observership Program as one of their delivery partners. If you haven’t heard of The Observership Program, then it’s worth checking them out. They connect emerging leaders from all walks of life with for-purpose Boards. The ‘Observers’ join the Board for a year, delivering as much value to the organisations as to the Observers themselves. The program is gaining incredible momentum with 200 ‘Observers’ across Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane in the last cohort.

Cathy Robinson, CEO of The Observership Program, invited us to bring a level of rigour into their training around the role that Purpose plays in governance. It’s a topic that is close to our hearts given our extensive work with Boards through Strategic Planning, Board & Director Evaluation, and in supporting effective teaming between the Board and the Executive.

In one small activity we invited participants to reflect on their Purpose horizon. It’s a concept from Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy. In our podcast with Aaron he explained that:

“Each of us tend to gravitate to our own “purpose horizon”. For some of us this is at the level of the potential of individuals; for others it is about transforming organisations; and still others it’s at the horizon of system-level impact.”

There is no right or better horizon, just diversity, and the power of self-awareness. Perhaps you can pause for a moment and reflect on your own Purpose horizon and that of your Directors?

As Board Directors this self-awareness around personal Purpose in all its depth, contributes towards healthy and transparent debate and discussion in the Boardroom. On a personal note, it made us smile to reflect on how Elise’s systems-level purpose horizon is being brought to life through this partnership: supporting the next generation of Board Directors to be part of driving the cultural health of our Boardrooms. Let’s hear it for the work of The Observership Program!

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