TEC speaker Casey Miller, President of Six and a Half Consulting, has over 15 years of executive business experience. Together, we explore how a leader can identify their “why,” the “why” of their employees, and incorporating personal objectives into their overall corporate goals.

TEC Canada: How does a leader identify their purpose, or their “why”?

Casey Miller: Finding our “why” is very much a process of coming home.  When I work with clients to articulate their personal purpose statements, there always comes a moment that I call “the clunk”- a feeling that every client has when they finally find the words to articulate who they are.  Getting to this place requires recounting and reliving several peak experiences in life and unravelling common themes. 

Finding one’s personal purpose is a long process. But ultimately it is about finding those innate things that make each of us. Living a purposeful life is ultimately about mastering you. And it starts with some deep introspection about the common themes that run through your life.

Discover what motivates you at work.

TC: What is the difference between personal purpose and corporate purpose?

CM: Both serve to articulate a higher calling — a reason for being.  For many founders of organizations, a personal purpose is very linked to their corporate purpose.  The biggest difference between the two, of course, is that personal statements are tied to one’s own identity making them, at least in my experience, much deeper in significance.

Explore the process on distinguishing your personal purpose and corporate values.

TC: How does a leader identify what motivates their employees?

CM: I’d start by asking them.  Then, I might administer a SCARF assessment, which identifies people’s motivations based on Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness or Fairness.

TC: How does a leader create a culture that aligns with everyone’s different motivations?

CM: That may not be possible.  Organizations must articulate their purpose, values and vision and make all decisions, including hiring and firing, around these.  It’s not always possible because individual values may not align with corporate ones. Say, for example, I hold a personal value of fierce independence and the company I work for values interdependent collaboration. Or, that my company values environmental stewardship initiatives whereas I may be deeply committed to mental health. In these examples, there isn’t value alignment, which makes long term engagement difficult.

TC: Does a leader’s or an employee’s “why” evolve or change?

CM: I’ve thought a lot about this and I think the answer is ‘no’…with an asterisk.  The asterisk is that personal purpose statements require maturity, awareness, and life experience.  When we have these, I think our personal purposes become solidified, and then life becomes a great adventure of finding the multitude of ways to manifest and express our purpose.


Casey A. Miller, President of Six and a Half Consulting, is on a mission: to help create environments where people value one another. In his consultancy, this means teaching business owners and executives how to build workplaces that inspire. In return, their organizations see positive returns on their time, teams, and profits.