Purpose Centered Project Leadership Models


The Connected Future Business Culture:

The Great Project Management Accelerator



By Dr. Harold Kerzner

Senior Executive for Project Management
The International Institute for Learning (IIL)
New York and Florida, USA


Dr. Al Zeitoun, PgMP, PMI Fellow

Global Future of Work Executive
Siemens DISW
Ohio & Maryland USA


Leadership matters.  Our world has been changing and evolving and one common thread of what we need most globally has been successful examples of leadership, coupled with the increased appreciation of projects and their role in achieving aspirations of transformation.  The success of tomorrow’s strategic programs and projects within the context of future business cultures will be linked to the intentionality of leadership that guide us create the true purpose of our societies, organizations, teams, and families.

The next decade is expected to rely on a project leadership to rethink work practices and ways of leading.  This is why we need project-centered project leadership models.  The goal would be to ensure these models are tailorable to the context of the business culture, adaptable to the world’s fast changing and unpredictable dynamics, and still provide the calmness in the middle of the storm that is critical to connecting and motivating project teams.  The business and political acumen ingredients will be common across leadership models in order to handle the increasingly complex ecosystem of stakeholders.

In this article, we will discuss several of the attributes of impactful leadership.  It is in our view that a strong purpose-centered project leadership will energize the strategic agendas of the future businesses and manages to leave the lasting and right footprint of impact that will effectively move societal change agendas forward.


During the past 20 years, there has been a significant growth in research surrounding effective leadership styles. Most of the research focused on functional rather than project leadership styles with a heavy emphasis on senior and middle-levels of management. However, many of these concepts are now being applied to project management leadership.

Almost all of the leadership research studies have a central focus such as:

  • Character-centered leadership
  • Self-centered leadership
  • Awareness-centered leadership
  • Action-centered leadership
  • Purpose-centered leadership
  • Knowledge-centered leadership
  • Value-centered leadership
  • Ethical-centered leadership
  • People-centered leadership
  • Customer-centered leadership
  • Principle-centered leadership

For each of the centered leadership models, the authors identify between 5 and 12 dimensions or characteristics of the model based upon their work experience as a functional leader, consultant or researcher. Many of the dimensions or characteristics are common to several of the centered leadership models.


To understand the applicability of centered leadership models to project management, we must first understand the history of project management leadership. In the early years of project management, very little emphasis was placed upon project management leadership. Significant research was placed upon improvements in processes, tools, techniques, forms, guidelines, templates, and checklists rather than people-oriented improvements such as leadership.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Kerzner, H. and Zeitoun, A. (2022). Purpose-Centered Project Leadership Models: The Great Project Management Accelerator series, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/pmwj117-May2022-Kerzner-Zeitoun-Purpose-Centered-Leadership-series-3-2.pdf

About the Authors

Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., MS, M.B.A

Senior Executive Director for Project Management
International Institute of Learning
New York & Florida, USA


 Dr. Harold Kerzner is Senior Executive Director for Project Management for the International Institute for Learning (IIL). He has an MS and Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Utah State University. He is a prior Air Force Officer and spent several years at Morton-Thiokol in project management. He taught engineering at the University of Illinois and business administration at Utah State University, and for 38 years taught project management at Baldwin-Wallace University. He has published or presented numerous engineering and business papers and has had published more than 60 college textbooks/workbooks on project management, including later editions. Some of his books are (1) Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling; (2) Project Management Metrics, KPIs and Dashboards, (3) Project Management Case Studies, (4) Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence, (5) PM 2.0: The Future of Project Management, (6) Using the Project Management Maturity Model, and (7) Innovation Project Management.

He is a charter member of the Northeast Ohio PMI Chapter.

Dr. Kerzner has traveled around the world conducting project management lectures for PMI Chapters and companies in Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, Singapore, Korea, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, Mexico, Trinidad, Barbados, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Venezuela, Columbia, United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, England, and Switzerland. He delivered a keynote speech at a PMI Global Congress on the future of project management.

His recognitions include:

  • The University of Illinois granted Dr. Kerzner a Distinguished Recent Alumni Award in 1981 for his contributions to the field of project management.
  • Utah State University provided Dr. Kerzner with the 1998 Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the field of project management.
  • The Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute gives out the Kerzner Award once a year to one project manager in Northeast Ohio that has demonstrated excellence in project management. They also give out a second Kerzner Award for project of the year in Northeast Ohio.
  • The Project Management Institute (National Organization) in cooperation with IIL has initiated the Kerzner International Project Manager of the Year Award given to one project manager yearly anywhere in the world that demonstrated excellence in project management.
  • The Project Management Institute also gives out four scholarships each year in Dr. Kerzner’s name for graduate studies in project management.
  • Baldwin-Wallace University has instituted the Kerzner Distinguished Lecturer Series in project management.
  • The Italian Institute of Project Management presented Dr. Kerzner with the 2019 International ISIPM Award for his contributions to the field of project management.

Dr. Harold Kerzner can be contacted at hkerzner@hotmail.com


Dr. Al Zeitoun, PgMP, PMI Fellow

Global Future of Work Executive
Siemens DISW
Ohio & Maryland USA


Dr. Al Zeitoun is a Future of Work, business optimization, and operational performance excellence thought leader with global experiences in strategy execution. His experiences encompass leading organizations; delivering their Enterprise Digital and Business Transformation; guiding fitting frameworks implementations; and using his empathy, engineering insights, and collaboration strengths to successfully envision new business models and execute complex missions across diverse cultures globally.

In his current role with Siemens, he is a Senior Director of Strategy responsible for driving the global program management practices, Master Plan governance, and enabling the Strategy Transformation priorities.

In his position, as the Executive Director for Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Abu Dhabi, UAE, he was responsible for creating the strategy execution framework, achieving transformation benefits, governance excellence, and creating the data analytics discipline necessary for delivering on the $40B complex country energy mission roadmap.

At the McLean, USA HQ of Booz Allen Hamilton, Dr. Zeitoun strategically envisioned and customized digitally enabled EPMO advisory, mapped playbooks, and capability development for clients’ Billions of Dollars strategic initiatives. Furthermore, he led the firm’s Middle East North Africa Portfolio Management and Agile Governance Solutions.

With the International Institute of Learning, Dr. Zeitoun played a senior leader and global trainer and coach. He was instrumental in driving its global expansion, thought leadership, and operational excellence methodology to sense and shape dynamic ways of working across organizations worldwide. He speaks English, Arabic, and German and enjoys good food, travel, and volunteering. Dr. Al Zeitoun can be contacted at zeitounstrategy@gmail.com