A six-month project for leaders to explore the power of purpose.

At the start of their 6-month leadership journey, the 10 aspiring leaders on BNP Paribas Real Estate’s LEAD programme were given a project brief. Their mission was to consider how the organisation’s newly articulated purpose could be brought to life, bringing benefits for the business in terms of better attraction and retention of clients and employees.

Many of the participants were new to the idea of purpose, so we ran a half-day workshop to share the latest evidence on its power, along with some inspiring examples from purpose-led organisations. Together, the group then identified the social and environmental issues of most relevance to their real estate business.

To enable them to better understand these issues, they then spent a day with two charities – Emmaus Greenwich which tackles homelessness and Mindfood which focuses on mental health. In the morning they experienced the charities’ services first-hand; in the afternoon they used their business skills to help the charities with their own strategic challenges.

Throughout the programme, we brought the group together for a combination of facilitated action learning sessions, reflection on their leadership learning and to review project progress.

The project ended with a “Dragons Den” style presentation to the company’s CEO and Board. The group proposed new initiatives on employee mental health and greening the car fleet – making a strong case for why both were important to society and to the business.

Through the project, the individuals had developed their emotional intelligence, authentic leadership and learned from their peers. They had been challenged on how to deal with ambiguity and to lead without authority. Most had become, in their own words, ‘ambassadors’ on social and environmental issues within the business.

“The journey that we went on with Three Hands was fun, challenging, sometimes stressful, but overall fulfilling. The delegates were venturing into uncharted territory, but with the guidance and support that Three Hands gave, the project outcomes were achieved and it will have a lasting impact on how we look at our corporate and social responsibilities.

Working with Three Hands helped make traditional leadership development programme project work more meaningful, and, dare I say it, more challenging for the delegates. They provide problems and challenges that truly stretch leadership intellect, skill and behaviour.”

Nasser Zabbar, Learning and Development Manager, BNP Paribas Real Estate