The French chef who put meaningfulness ahead of stars

Fresh bear garlic on wooden tableThis week, French chef Sébastien Bras, whose restaurant Le Suquet in Aubrac, France, has three Michelin stars, asked the Michelin guide to drop his restaurant from their rankings. In explaining why he wanted to walk away from what is every chef’s dream accolade, Bras said:

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“I’m not mopping the floors, I’m putting a man on the moon”: How NASA leaders enhanced the meaningfulness of work by changing the meaning of work, by Andrew Carton


What can leaders do to help employees see the connection between their daily work, which for many of us, let’s be honest, can often be a tad mundane, and the organisation’s Big Picture? This is the interesting question that Andrew Carton set out to answer in his recent article. Continue reading

Workshops on meaningful work create space for purpose and values at Man Bites Dog


Award-winning B2B marketing communications consultancy Man Bites Dog works with leading business brands on complex global projects. While the business has an award-winning culture, winning PR Week’s Best Place To Work an unprecedented five times, the management team wanted to ensure that, as well as the perks of working for a creative agency, the team were finding their day-to-day work fulfilling. Continue reading

Purposeful leadership: what is it, what causes it, and does it matter?

‘Purposeful leadership: what is it, what causes it, and does it matter?’ by Catherine Bailey (University of Sussex), Amanda Shantz (University of Greenwich), Patrick Brione (IPA), Ramya Yarlagadda (CIPD and formerly IPA) and Dr Ksenia Zheltoukhova (CIPD) is published on the CIPD website on Wednesday 14 June 2017.

Our research looked at purposeful and ethical leadership styles and their impact on employees in a range of different organisations. Purposeful leadership combines three different facets: a clear and compelling vision, commitment to a range of stakeholders, and a strong ‘moral self’.  Purposeful leaders can have a vital role to play in helping create purposeful organisations that look beyond short-term performance to focus on the wider societal and economic impact. Continue reading

Good work, meaningful work: what’s the difference?

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There is significant interest at the moment in the idea of ‘good work’ as we move towards a general election here in the UK. The CIPD for example have recently launched their Manifesto for Work 2017. In the manifesto, the CIPD argue that people must be put ‘much more at the heart of business thinking and practice’, and call for the next government to: Continue reading

Book Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, by Cal Newport (Piatkus, 2016)

So Good They Can't Ignore You

This book is not strictly speaking about meaningful work, but I found that much of what Cal Newport has to say about how to maximize your chances of being successful in pursuing your ideal job resonates strongly with the ideals of meaningfulness.

Cal begins by debunking the myth that giving up everything to blindly follow your passion to become, say, a Buddhist priest, is the ideal way to achieve your dream job. Instead, he sends the more prosaic, but much more realistic, message that in order to achieve your ideal job you first have to roll up your sleeves, be prepared to make sacrifices, and show people that you can actually do it. This makes a lot of sense, and Cal has some powerful examples to share of people, including himself, who have managed to achieve their goals by doing just this. Continue reading

Should students learn about meaningful work?


I was talking about meaningful work at Marsh & McLennan on 23rd March, when someone asked: do students study what makes work meaningful on their courses, or think about finding meaningful work when they leave university? This is a really important issue because young people entering the workforce now will most likely be working well into their 70s. Imagine spending such a long working life doing work you find meaningless or pointless! It is perhaps especially pertinent to think about this today, which is Mothers’ Day here in the UK, as so many of us have children who will be starting out on their working lives over the coming years. I would certainly want my own children to find work that is meaningful to them. Continue reading