Skip to content

Episode 109

April 21, 2021

109: How to talk about soft topics with rational people with Marloes Sikkema

Sign up to download the free 1-page summary.



    Purpose is becoming an increasingly important part of corporate culture, but how there are still misconceptions and doubts about its value – especially in ‘rational’ fields, such as engineering.

    But the thing is, every company has a purpose – even if it doesn’t seem obvious to the people within it.

    How can we help clients understand purpose, empower their people to take ownership of their part in it, and take it away from theory and into ‘real world’ application?

    Marloes Sikkema, the founder of AMICA Innovatie and designer of ZENITH (the Purpose Anatomy game), is the perfect person to ask… so I did!

    Find out about

    • What the work before the workshop looks like if you want to help people understand purpose
    • Marloes’ technique for translating ‘elusive’ purpose into ‘rational’ language
    • Cutting through buzzwords and broad terms when defining purpose
    • Managing the risk of opening schisms and misalignments within a company
    • Why innovation and purpose share far more in common than we might think
    • Exploring ‘purpose in action’ – the real-world application of purpose
    • Marloes’ one piece of advice for anyone who wants to push their company towards a conversation around purpose

    Don’t miss the next show: sign up to my newsletter and subscribe to the show through your podcast player.

    Feeling inspired by the conversation in this episode? We can have our own – take a seat at my virtual table as part of a Mastermind Group.

    And if the idea of NeverDoneBefore 2021, the community of facilitators, caught your attention; why not explore it in more detail now?

    Questions and Answers

    01:24When did you start calling yourself a facilitator, if you do? 02:54What does facilitation mean to you? 04:45What do you think holds people back from really buying-in to purpose and believing that their voice matters? 06:48How do you align with a client before starting an engagement to help them get over the purpose ‘threshold’? 10:33How do you help groups understand that purpose is important to work on and how do you use games to help them do that work? 17:07Can you explain the relevance of animals in your game, ‘Zenith’? 19:57How do you overcome broad, corporate buzzword terms (e.g. ‘being trustworthy’) when working on purpose? 23:11Do you often uncover contradictions within a company when working on purpose? 27:25Whose responsibility is it to own and manage realignment from moments of contradiction? 29:42How much time do you spend on properly defining the words used to describe a company’s purpose? 35:19What makes a workshop fail? 38:51What’s your favourite exercise? 41:47When you ask somebody about their purpose, do you put them into breakout rooms or ask as part of the wider group? 46:03How do you bring the conversation about purpose back together after breaking it down into smaller parts? 47:36What’s the impact of the purpose conversation on the innovation conversation? 50:02What is the one thing you would recommend to someone who wants their company to start talking about purpose? 51:42What is the one thing you would like listeners to take away from this episode?


    Marloes’ company, AMICA Innovatie

    Traction’s curated collection of business tools (including Zenith)

    Marloes’ serious game (and the Dutch version)

    Information and guidance on when to use Zenith

    Connect to Marloes