Leadership and Purpose : How to Create a Sustainable Culture book cover
1st Edition

Leadership and Purpose
How to Create a Sustainable Culture

ISBN 9780367217693
Published July 28, 2019 by Routledge
174 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Companies that have integrated a contribution to society into their business models are more likely than others to succeed for the long term. This book provides you with information, tips, and tools to assess and strengthen your company for ongoing success.

Through the use of case studies, the book describes the leaders’ journeys – the mistakes they made, the successes they achieved, and the lessons they learned. Some are certified as Benefits Corporations (B Corps) because they have incorporated a clear societal purpose into their missions and they are able to demonstrate positive social impact. Others, while not certified B Corps, are at various stages in their commitments to society.

The book is for leaders at many levels, including CEOs, senior leaders, and managers, as well as those without formal positions of authority but who can influence others and contribute to a sustainable culture.

Table of Contents

Part I: Fundamental Building Blocks  1. Introduction: Becoming a Sustainable Company: Making the Case  2. Leadership in Sustainable Companies  3. Company Identity: Purpose, Values and Vision  4. Trust Part II: The Nature of Sustainable Culture  5. Internal Organizational Culture: From Purpose to Engagement  6. External Relationships  7. Enhancing Change Capabilities  Part III: Deep Change  8. Mental Models and Change in Sustainable Companies  9. The Transformational Cycle: Becoming a Sustainable Company  10. Afterword

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Kathleen Miller Perkins is a social psychologist, consultant, teacher, writer, and researcher. For over 35 years she has worked with both national and international clients in areas such as leading change, developing sustainable organizational culture, collaborating across boundaries, and developing leaders. She has served on the faculty of the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, Virginia Tech, USA, and the Business School of Lausanne, Switzerland 


"Kathy Miller Perkins is a pioneer in studying how organizational culture and leadership affects a company’s sustainability efforts. Her rare combination of research skills and years of practical experience have made this book a useful guide for any business leader looking to integrate sustainability issues in corporate strategy."

George Serafeim, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School


"Kathy Miller Perkins’ work on culture, sustainability and purpose remains seminal.  From her groundbreaking analysis on organizational culture performed with Eccles and Serafeim, up through this critically important new book, she is always one to watch.  The culture and purpose of organizations couldn’t be more important in this age of ever increasing environmental and social challenge.  Here’s hoping this insightful new book inspires more organizations to join those already on board for this critically important ride."

Cary Krosinsky, Lecturer at Yale and Brown University


"As a professional in workplace design, I believe in aligning business purpose, culture and workplace environment. This book presents strong arguments for why leaders should care about signaling what they stand for. Through tips, tools and colorful stories, Kathy Miller Perkins shows readers how to create a culture a d environment that inspires people while supporting business purpose and long-term success."

Jack E. Weber, IIDA, MCR, LEED AP,Senior Vice President / Design Principal, Gresham Smith


"Kathleen Miller provides a very valuable tool for any 21st century manager who wants to create long-term value for the firm and for society. Based on 200 interviews of executives in 60 companies, Kathleen has written an eminently readable text, full of examples and self-guided workbook exercises. Any progressive manager should read this book." 

Dr. Tima Bansal, Ivey Business School, Canada Research Chair in Business, Sustainability


"This book is THE handbook for any leader committed to creating a sustainable business culture designed for the next decade. The material is accessible and engaging, with practical tips and tools woven with memorable case studies from Kathy’s many years of research. I recommend this for any leader aspiring to create a purpose driven organization."

Anne Chambers, Co- Founder, Certifiably


"At Dow our purpose inspires and guides everything that we do. And the right culture enables us to live our purpose. This book provides a roadmap for leaders who wish to build a culture where every employee contributes to the company’s bottom line while also making a difference in the world. I have worked with Kathy Miller Perkins and can vouch for the value she brings to leaders through her solid research and practical tips and tools."


Mark Weick, Lead Director, Sustainability and Enterprise Risk Management, The Dow Chemical Company

"How can I lead my organization towards long-term success? How can I find a work with purpose? Can I change my company's culture? If these questions keep you up at night, then ‘Leading with Purpose’ is a must read. As an incredibly thoughtful and experienced practitioner working with purpose-driven organizations, Kathy provides tools to support change and enable the development of sustainable organizational cultures."

Sakis Kotsantonis, Managing Parnter at KKS Advisors


"The further companies go on the journey of integrating sustainability into their business, the more it becomes clear to me that purpose, culture and leadership are the essential ingredients to move forward.  Kathy's work with Brown-Forman in the early days of deepening and advancing our sustainability commitment helped put us on a path to better understand and leverage culture, purpose and employee engagement.  Like a fine cocktail, this book provides just the right mix of thought leadership, research, guidance and tools to accelerate sustainability progress."

Rob Frederick | VP & Director, Corporate Brand and Communications | Brown-Forman Corporation