The single most important requirement for the creation of higher levels of trust for any organization is to discover or rediscover the higher purpose of the organization. Why does the organization exist? What is it trying to accomplish? What core values will inspire the organization and create greater trust from all of its stakeholders?

— John Mackey

Van Arsdale France, who in 1955 founded the “University of Disneyland,” and was tasked with creating a training program for those who would bring Walt’s dream of Disneyland to life. As he was preparing to pitch what would become the purpose of Disneyland to Walt and Roy Disney, Van Arsdale France once said, “My goal, as I saw it, was to get everyone we hired to share in an intangible dream, and not just working for a paycheck.”  Van recounted the experience…“And here were top executives, all of them right there, and I had to get up and say ‘And now our theme: the purpose of Disneyland is to create happiness for others.’ And you see, the beautiful thing about saying, ‘We’re going to create happiness’ was then I could say, ‘Look, you may park cars, clean up the place, sweep the place, work graveyard and everything else, but whatever you do is contributing to creating happiness for others. - The Disney Institute

Is this just the best of what’s common or is it the best of what’s possible? - Growth happens most powerfully when we align each day with a compelling future vision—an ideal future or most amazing future. That ignites the brain’s emotional-energy centers, infusing the day with meaning and helping you make better choices to speed you in the desired direction.
— Dr. Robert Cooper, Cooper Neuroscience Lab

The Driving Force Behind Great Missions

Engagement is an individual's sense of purpose and focused energy, evident to others in their display of personal initiative, adaptability, effort and persistence toward organizational goals.

The Key to Passionate Performance is found within the minds and hearts of employees where basic human needs are fulfilled. It’s a simple but powerful formula: When my needs are fulfilled, I am engaged and I perform at my peak ability. When my needs are met, I’m motivated to help those who meet my needs. When my needs are not met, I’m frustrated, out of control, unfocused, and disconnected – in a word, disengaged.

To maximize your team's passion, fully engage their hearts by asking them how their jobs relate to your team's purpose. Here are five questions to get you started:

  1. How does our purpose make you feel? (If you hear responses like proud, important, connected, helpful or like a winner, then you're on the right track.)

  2. Does our purpose make you look at your job differently?

  3. Do our roles, procedures, resources, skills and priorities support our ability to achieve our purpose?

  4. What can you change or do differently to better support our purpose?

  5. What can I change or do differently to better support our purpose?

Give your team a compelling purpose, and you fill their hearts with passion. Engaged hearts will ignite passionate performance.

Self managing, organizing, healing teams!

[Reference: The L Group:  Leadership at every level; Macey, Schneider, Barbera and Young]]

Creating a Compelling Purpose:

Find a way to express the organization's impact on the lives of students and parents. Help your people feel it.

What is the shared purpose that…      

  1. We and our (students & parents) can work on together?

  2. Is a natural expression of who we are and what we stand for?

  3. Connects how we (educate/develop students and partner with parents) with how we contribute to the world?

As you formulate your shared purpose, don’t go for what you think it should be. Look for who you already are. How you already connect with your students, parents, and community. What your “fans” already say about you.

Remember, this is not something you are going to do to them, or for them, but with them. It’s a journey you will be on together, hopefully for a very long time.

Nike - to inspire the athlete in all of us. Starbucks - to nurture the human spirit. Coca-Cola -to refresh the world with moments of optimism and happiness

[Reference: Triple Pundit, and the Harvard Business Review]

Relevance of a Higher Purpose in Education

Caring and hope sound like things that are nice to have, rather than things we need to have for success in life. But, as Gallup research shows, hope is a stronger predictor of college success than GPA or SAT and ACT scores.

Schools high in Engagement and Hope have been found to do the following three things well in particular:  1) Care about students and invest in their big future goals.  2) Aim teaching at their students’ goals for the future to increase the relevance of instruction.  3) Help students overcome obstacles and teach them how to solve problems on their own.

Students who agreed with the following two statements: 1. “My school is committed to building the strengths of each student” and 2. “I have at least one teacher who makes me excited about the future” were 30 times more likely to be engaged. 

Engagement measures have a lot to do with relationships and feeling valued. So it’s not surprising that there’s an intimate connection between the schoolroom engagement of students, and the workplace engagement of teachers. As the saying goes, “Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.” 

In Gallup's survey of more than 2,500 superintendents, they found that only 5% strongly agree that a high GPA is the best predictor of success in college, and only 6% strongly agree that high SAT and ACT scores are the best predictor. Google has found no correlation between an employee’s previous GPA and test scores and success in the workplace.]

[Gallup, 2013]

The Workplace Values or Beliefs selected by teachers as ideal

  1. Working together - Learning from each other - Sharing resources and ideas

  2. Raising capability - Helping people learn - Laying foundations for later success

  3. Creating a pleasant and collegial work environment

  4. A hunger for improvement - High hopes and expectations

  5. Focusing on the value added - Holding hope for every child - Every gain a victory

  6. Creating opportunities for everyone -Widening horizons - Fighting injustice

[The Hay Group Education Culture Project - 150+ schools & 4,000+ teachers.]


Apple, MLK, and the Wright Brothers all think, act and communicate the exact same way. And it’s the complete opposite to everyone else. The inspired organizations and leaders all think, act, and communicate from the inside out.
— Simon Sinek