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Phil’s Corner: The Purpose of Business

Having spent my last entry in this series talking about the role purpose plays in our personal lives (through the lens of my own experiences), I want to pivot to the role it plays in organizations and enterprises. In the subsequent entry, I’ll talk about how a business’s purpose can be brought to life in a way that is visible to the customers, shareholders, employees, and surrounding community with which the business operates, and how this can be critical to the business growing and prospering. While I don’t personally agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling that “corporations are people,” I would say that companies take on the spirit of their founders and of those who dr

Exploration in Research- “I’m Kind of a Big Deal”: How Better Moderation Starts with Self-Reflection

I have a love-hate relationship with research. It is a source of eternal fascination and frustration that simultaneously excites me about new ways to understand and engage the world and makes me want to tear my hair out. I grew up in and around Ann Arbor, so joining Great Lakes GrowthWorks is really a homecoming for me. The intervening years have had their share of travel and adventure. My work in Japan made me both a target of and tool for the promotion of Japan abroad. As youthful wanderlust dissipated and was replaced by a deep investment in East Asia, I earned my M.A. in Korea Studies with a focus on comparative analysis of Japanese and Korean national narratives and campaigns to rebrand

Phil’s Corner: “Higher Purpose – Visiting Our Younger Selves”

I have discovered that, for many people, the idea of “higher purpose” is fairly well understood, and its importance and link to basic human happiness is self-evident. Most of us, at least at certain junctures, ask the question “Why am I here, and what am I meant to do with my life?” Whenever I bring up the topic with friends or others I encounter, I get a lot of head-nodding. I have come to believe that we all start life with a sense of who we are and what mission or purpose we are here to pursue, but we lose connection with that purpose over the course of our lives as we deal with the distractions, challenges, and expectations of life in a complex, rapidly-changing world. Yet we yearn for t

Phil’s Corner: “Higher Purpose” – A Prelude

The first entry in the “Phil’s Corner” series talked of a world undergoing transformational change, and the fact that successful enterprises can no longer prosper in isolation from those changes. I believe that fulfilling an organization’s role and potential within this changing world means embracing and understanding key dynamics driving this transformation. The first of those dynamics is the arrival of “higher purpose” as table stakes for a successful enterprise. The days are gone where companies could be about nothing more than selling good products or services and making money. Customer, employee, shareholder, and community support emanate from creating an organization that stands for so


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