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The Truman National Security Project: Creating a New Generation of Leaders through Purpose

Invest in shared values and embrace the idea of a dynamic career path.

Submitted by: Guest Contributor

Posted: Apr 02, 2014 – 09:00 AM EST

Tags: truman national security project, leadership, careers, p100, culture, happiness, community, military, impact


By Aaron Hurst, CEO, Imperative

Choosing the right candidates who share your company’s values and mission requires investment and commitment. Apply that same commitment to searching for our country’s future leaders, and you have the Truman National Security Project, an institute that recruits, trains and positions a new generation of leaders to work in national security: That's three programs (policy, political and military) employing around 1200 people, who work to protect our nation, foster diplomacy and ensure global stability.

Established on core policies of coordination, alliances, intelligence, diplomacy, development and trade, the Truman National Security Project is infused with a sense of calling and openness to new opportunity – offering a clear and purposeful recruitment call. Accordingly, Trumanfounder Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, profiled in the first-ever Purpose Economy 100, recruits people motivated by the collective versus the personal.

"The number one thing that I’m most proud about is the culture that we’ve created,” she says, adding, "[For those starting out] … what they need to be thinking about is what is the change they want to make."

But purpose comes from the day-to-day and she believes: "You can do your most good when you're happy."

So how do you find meaning in your career? I asked Dr. Kleinfeld for some pointers:

1. Ask the right questions

The Truman National Security Project provides the skills, knowledge and network for ambitious purpose driven thinkers to serve the country. But to empower themselves and create their own career path, candidates must ask themselves the right questions, like do you prefer to work in big or small environments? In the field or research and write? Do you like to interact with people? Self-examination leads to the self-awareness necessary for an integrated work and life.

2. Invest in creating a community that will empower and support each other

Investing in building a thoughtful and resilient community Truman-P100-logosis critical to the Project. Their leaders must communicate across policy, politics and military bounds, bolstered through accountability to each other and support among teams.

3. Embrace the concept of a dynamic career path

New challenges call for creative solutions, “whereas it might have been at one point that you went into business or into government, now we have slightly more openness to embrace a more varied career path.” Moreover, in a purpose driven economy united by a calling, injecting new blood into civil service from Wall Street or Silicon Valley brings new skills and new thinking – whether it is Wall Street investigating terrorist financing or technologists targeting cyber security breaches.

4. Change through clear goals aligned with purpose

In a training segment called Change Agent 101, which provides tools for recruits and facilitates a culture of empowerment and ownership, trainees were asked to lay out their vision, purpose and plans, and then to boil those down toTruman-Project-members-infographic three actionable items for the year “from major changes to U.S. policy and foreign aid to giving philanthropically in a more thoughtful way.” They were also encouraged to discuss how they would accomplish these goals. Employ similar exercises to create actionable tools for employees, which marry purpose, passion and productivity.

5. Everyone wants to be of use

The next generation of leaders influencing progressive national security appreciates that diplomacy springs from trust and valuing others. As Dr. Kleinfeld relates, at her first job –running a mixed income housing area in the Bronx – she learned the difference it made to the kids in the program to be asked to do something for other people and not be treated as charity cases. “I’ve just never forgotten that, that people want to be of use.”

6. Impact comes from addressing issues that are underserved

Civil and human rights, equality of opportunity and tolerance shape the values of our country. The Truman Project identifies areas where insecurity may threaten our national security and global stability. Both on a personal level and in scale, impact comes from recognizing who, according to Dr. Kleinfeld, really has potential, whose potential was being blocked and focusing on issues not being tackled.

Through intention and empowerment, the Truman Project creates new leaders for a more safe, stable and just world. How is your organization nurturing future leadership? Join the conversation by leaving a comment or connecting with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Alert: The Purpose Economy launches today! Learn more – and grab a copy.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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