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Leadership for Meaningful Change Management through Employee Empowerment: The PURPLE System

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

By Kathryn Hauer, CFP®

Are you trying to guide your financial advisory firm toward positive social change? Perhaps you have become passionate about a particular cause or your heart has broken in becoming aware of an aspect of human suffering you wish to change. As one person, you have some ability to effect change, but as a corporate body, your power multiplies exponentially.

How can you share your awakening with your team members and guide them to a level of employee engagement that helps spread positive social change. Managing organizational change is no easy feat as the mountains of leadership advice show.

My system for infusing your organization for the will to work toward positive social change is based on the work of John R. Shultz, a professor in the Wisconsin Technical College system whose advocacy for employee empowerment as a method for social change introduces these concepts. My impetus for choosing the color purple as a mnemonic comes from my desire to honor and remember a special person in my life who embodied the kind of positive social change and ability to empower others.

Chris Tilton, an eight-year pancreatic cancer survivor and my friend of 40 years, empowered others through her strength and positive attitude throughout what she called her “cancer journey” rather than “cancer battle.” She preferred to use the word “journey” rather than “fight” as another tool in the face of an unrelenting disease.

The PURPLE System™ guides leaders through a proven system to facilitate employee empowerment as a way to achieve positive organizational change. Use these steps in combination with the PURPLE mnemonic and the color purple for communication and promotional items to cement the principles. The PURPLE system™ offers the following tenets of successful change:

· Promulgation of company values and written policies

· User-friendly systems

· Regular reviews

· People first

· Lateral and top-down communication

· Exemplification of desired behaviors

To make change happen, involve your team members in creating a vision that everyone would like to work toward. Commit your vision to paper or the computer and write or type the steps and action items you collectively wish to follow to achieve these objectives. In all actions, be sure to put people first rather than things. Consider the feelings, dreams, and sensitivities of your team members in all you do and strive to create an atmosphere of encouragement and empowerment. Regularly review the plan and its accompanying actions items, ensuring that revisions are communicated from leaders to team members as well as among team members. As the leader, be sure to demonstrate and live the behaviors you wish to inspire in others.

The PURPLE system™ can help guide your organization to new heights. Do you want to use revenue toward causes that advance social change? Is it your hope to move in the community as advocates for bettering the lives of the people in your community? You can do it, and the world will be better for it.

Kathryn Hauer, a Certified Financial Planner ™, adjunct professor, and financial literacy educator has written numerous articles and several books including the “11-Step, DIY, Comprehensive Financial Plan Workbook” and “Financial Advice for Blue Collar America.” She works to help clients and readers understand and act on complex financial information to keep them and their money safe. She functions as a strong advocate and guiding light for her clients as they move through murky and unfamiliar financial and career worlds. Read more on her website.

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