All posts in “Purpose”

Simon Sinek Explains the Trust Gap in Your Organization

In the third most popular TED Talk of all time, Simon Sinek inspired leaders to reconnect with their organizational why. In just 18 minutes and with a rough sketch of concentric circles on a flip chart, Sinek shared what he said was “probably the world’s simplest idea.” Most organizations focus on what they do and how they do it. But only the most inspired organizations have leaders who start with why they do it first. And for companies like Apple, and people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright Brothers, starting with why was the fundamental difference between success and obscurity.

In a less popular but equally profound TED Talk, Sinek turned again to the flip chart. In “First why and then trust,” Sinek illustrates why organizations must clarify and codify their why. Imagine a simple x, y graph. At the (0,0) coordinates, where x and y meet, is the genesis of an organization. At (0,0), x equals what and y equals, well, why. At that genesis, the what and the why are perfectly aligned. When a company launches, the founders are inspired by a big idea. They put some money together, and off they go.

At first, it’s easy for the founders to share their vision with their handful of employees. Customers are soon attracted and life is good. The what and the why lines grow in parallel on the chart. But, as Sinek explains, “the single biggest challenge that an organization will ever face is its own success.” Here’s why. The more successful an organization becomes, the more people it has to hire based on what they do. The company’s what keeps growing. “The problem is,” Sinek explains, “why they do it starts to go fuzzy.” And as the what and why lines separate, a trust gap occurs.

Consider this example that Sinek gives about trust in America since World War II:

The country rallied together to fight in a war in which they were united and unified behind a common cause. After the war, veterans took advantage of the GI Bill to get low-interest loans or cover tuition to attend college or trade schools. When they entered the job market, they applied the same sense of loyalty to their companies as they had to their country. “The problem is,” says Sinek, “as we started to become more affluent, and the wealth of country started to grow, that sense of purpose — that sense of trust — didn’t grow with it.”

Sinek goes on to describe how trust continued to fall through the 1960’s (the hippie movement), the 1970’s (the Me generation), the 1980’s (think greed is good), and the 1990’s (the dot.com bubble). Over the decades, the country became more and more affluent, but lost touch with its sense of purpose.

Here’s the key takeaway for your organization: the answer to why your organization exists can no longer be simply, “to make a profit.” If you don’t codify, clarify and deploy your why, you’ll have an unsustainable business model and no competitive advantage.

Question: Do you know your organization’s “why”? 

 

Do you know how to codify, clarify, and deploy your organizational purpose? Get our Summer special of 15% off a 2-hour workshop on What’s Your ROP? (Return on Purpose) between now and September 31, 2017. Get a list of available dates and learn more about the program by emailing me directly at info@executiveexcellence.com. [Read more about our Purpose Alignment services.]

What’s Your ROP (Return On Purpose)?

Organizational success doesn’t happen by luck. It’s intentional. As author and noted TED Speaker Simon Sinek tells us, those that succeed in the long-term are clear not only about what they do, and how they do it — they’re also crystal clear about their why.

Next week, I will be co-facilitating The Re:Imagine Leadership Summit with Dr. Tony Baron. It’s a day that will include candid conversations with executives from a variety of purpose-driven organizations. They’ll share their why, along with stories about how they lead high-performance organizations grounded in purpose.

It is my honor to introduce you to our Purpose Panel executives, and to invite you to join us to hear them in person at the Summit.

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JOE MUSSELMAN

In 2012, just 13% of Navy SEALs had job offers when they got out of the service. By comparison, 98% of Wharton MBA graduates received 2-3 job offers at graduation. That was an injustice that Joe Musselman set out to correct in 2013 that led to the launch of The Honor Foundation. THF is a world-class, 120-hour, MBA-style nonprofit program that helps Navy SEALs and other Special Operations forces successfully transition from military service and back into the corporate world. To date, THF has graduated 200 Fellows, including 1 of only 5 women SEALs in the world. Their goal is to impact 65,000 members of the Special Ops community by 2020. The program begins with 4 weeks of purpose training to help the students get grounded in their why before they move on to what’s next.

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RACHELLE SNOOK

You may know WD-40 as the blue and yellow can that sits under the sink, in the garage, and in the toolboxes of every household in the America. What you may not know, is that the WD-40 “tribe” is a purpose-driven, high-performing culture. Rachelle Snook, WD-40’s Global Talent Acquisition Manager has played an integral role in that dedication to culture. She carefully recruits candidates for culture fit, and she helps new members transition into the tribe. From Day One, she makes sure every tribe members knows their potential career path, including salary ranges, for any position they are interested in applying for. With an annual employee engagement index of over 90%, Rachelle knows first-hand how purpose maximization is connected to profit maximization.

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DAMIAN MCKINNEY

When Damian McKinney began his career in commercial real estate over 35 years ago, he noticed two framed posters in a senior executive’s office: one said “Poverty Sucks” and the other said “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Against that backdrop, Damian has insisted on reclaiming leadership and redefining success. He used his parents for inspiration and worked to model what they had instilled in him – that leaders have a responsibility to use their power to benefit others. To use their position to be of service to their team, to their organizations, and to the community at large. As Founder and CEO of McKinney Advisory Group, Damian uses his global platform to teach others about his purpose driven approach to leadership.

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DEAN CARTER

Although he looks like he walked off the pages of a Patagonia catalogue, Dean Carter took an unlikely path to end up there two years ago. He started his career at well-known retail brands like Pearle Vision, Pier 1 Imports, and Fossil. Just before joining Patagonia, he was the Chief HR Officer for Sears Holdings Corporation. Suffice it to say, Dean has worked for organizations where operating efficiency and return on shareholder value far outweighed social and environmental responsibility. His background gives him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on the impact of culture on performance. Today, he uses his insight to help Patagonia live out its mission statement: to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

 

Question: How would you calculate the ROP (return on purpose) at your organization?

Uncertainty? Not if You Ground Yourself in Purpose

Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking at the American Public Transit Authority Annual CEOs Summit in San Diego. The Summit was attended by about 150 public transit executives from across the country.

Like many other industries in the U.S., public transit faces an uncertain future. Regulatory uncertainty – where does public transit fit in the new Administration’s infrastructure plan? Macroeconomic uncertainty – when the economy is up, gas and cars are affordable, so transit ridership is down. Disruptive uncertainty – will ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft complement or erode public transit services?

No industry is immune. Uncertainty will remain high for the foreseeable future. Forecasts are likely to be wrong. The world is no longer predictable or stable.

During times of uncertainty, it is the leader’s role to bring order to chaos, calm nerves, and manifest a non-anxious presence. One of the most effective ways to do this, is to reground people around organizational purpose. Now is the time to clarify and renew your commitment to the bigger impact – collectively – that your organization is making in the world.

To that end, I challenge you to honestly assess where your organization falls in the 5 Levels of Purpose:

Level 1: Our organization has not clarified or codified its purpose.

Level 2: I couldn’t tell you what our purpose is without looking on the website – and that’s probably true for most of our employees as well.

Level 3: Our organization has a purpose, but we don’t actively use it to inspire employees.

Level 4: Our organization has a purpose that inspires our employees, but we don’t take purpose into account when making business decisions.

Level 5: Our organization has a clearly defined purpose that is hardwired into our DNA. It inspires our employees and guides our business decisions.

If your answer fell between Levels 1 through 3, you have an untapped resource that will help you stabilize your team, and inspire them to work together to make a collective impact. If you answered Level 4, work to hardwire purpose into your business decisions. Think about what you measure, what you reward, and what you ignore. Are they in line with your organizational purpose?

Level 5 companies like Patagonia call purpose “Our Reason for Being”. At Level 5, you’re not immune from uncertainty, but you are clear about why the world is better off because your organization exists. Having clarity of purpose is like having a North Star. It will keep you on your path, and help you make decisions that will sustain you through the chaos.

Question: Have you worked for an organization with a clear sense of purpose? How did that impact you as an employee? 

 


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CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

3 Simple Questions to Find Your ‘Why’ in 2017

It’s only the 3rd of January, and already the jokes about not keeping New Year’s resolutions are flying. London’s Telegraph just posted “The 13 funniest tweets about New Year’s resolutions.”

Those who will make 2017 a true success are not focused on their New Year’s resolutions – about what they will start doing or stop doing. Instead, they are focused on their why. They’ve taken the time to connect the dots of who they are with what they do. And that is very powerful motivator.

This year, don’t resolve to do two or three small things differently. Instead, take the time to connect with your why. What can you do to make an enduring impact? Here are three simple questions to get you started.

1. What did you want to be before the world ‘should’ on you? You know. “You should go into accounting.” “You should take over your father’s law practice.” “You should study medicine.” As Mark Albion writes in More Than Money, “It’s easy to slide into a career that matches your skills but not your deepest desires. When you get good at something you don’t want to do, you feel as if you’re dying a little bit each day – that your soul is being sucked out of you. Worse yet, it takes time to realize what’s going on.”

2. What did you want to do when you were eleven or twelve? In Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham suggests that we remember our ‘yearnings’. He writes, “Perhaps because of your genes, or your early experiences, as a child you found yourself drawn to some activities and repelled by others. While your brother was chasing his friends around the yard, you settled down to tinker with the sprinkler head, pulling it apart so that you could figure out how it worked. Your analytical mind was already making its presence known.” Your purpose is hiding right beneath the surface of your life. It threads between the major events of your life and opens windows of opportunity.

3. What legacy do you want to leave?  Author Michael Gerber takes this idea to an extreme in his book, The E-Myth Revisited. He asks that you imagine attending your own funeral. All of your friends, your family, and your business associate are there. Picture yourself lying in the box in the center of the room, then listen. Imagine what your colleagues would say about you. Would they talk about the margins you gained? The deals you closed? The efficiencies you implemented? Or, would they talk about the value you left behind? How you helped them grow? How they are better off because they knew you? Starting today, you have the power to shape these conversations.

Rather than rushing to the gym or buying an organizer, take some time this month to connect with your why. There’s no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. Find your passion. Connect with your why. Work on purpose.

Question: Do you know someone who is guided by a clear sense of purpose? What differences do you see in their daily behavior?

suetalk_sherinasim

Interested in finding your WHY? Watch my recent SUE Talk on the importance of placing significance over success and connecting who you are with what you do.

 

twitter_newsletterInterested in getting more content like this? Subscribe to CEE News!

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

The Power of Purpose

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced an audacious goal.  Before a joint session of Congress, Kennedy laid out a compelling vision:  to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade.

It is estimated that on the night of that speech we knew only about 15% of what we needed to accomplish that goal.  But on July 20, 1969, millions of people around the world watched in awe as Neil Armstrong took one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.

In the eight years between President Kennedy’s and Commander Armstrong’s profound words, nearly 500,000 people, through dedication, ingenuity, and perseverance, worked tirelessly to reach that goal.  It was something that many, including Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center, were not sure could be reached.  What was it about Kennedy’s words that stirred so many to achieve this nearly impossible feat?

“Kennedy invited us into a cause,” write Kevin and Jackie Freiberg in their book Cause! “He asked us to be part of something BIGGER, to bring our gifts and talents to solve a problem,” they write.  In short, it galvanized half a million people around a purpose.

The question of purpose — the need to connect the why to the what and how — is the essence of what it means to exist.  It’s the question of insatiably curious 4-year olds.  It’s the question young adults seek to answer when traditional education falls short.  It’s the question on the minds of the Millennial workforce, today’s consumers, and discerning shareholders when considering whether to work for, buy from, or invest in your company.

Today’s organizations sit at a tipping point.  The answer to the question of why a company exists can no longer be simply “to make a profit.”

Consider these trends behind this tipping point:

  • 3.6 billion people along with their shared knowledge, social contacts, and computing power are rapidly becoming a collective force of unprecedented power.
  • 73% of Millennials believe businesses can have a positive social impact on the world, and they are optimistic about playing a role in that change.
  • 90% of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.
  • 20% of shareholder-sponsored proposals of U.S. public companies focus on environmental and social concerns.

Traditional business based on the factory model is dying.  Factories are filled with bureaucracy and clock watchers. Factories are focused on the what and the how.  Successful organizations of the 21st century thrive in the why.  They are driven by engaged people who know that their collective effort has meaning beyond a paycheck.

The case for defining and living your organizational purpose has never been more compelling.  Today’s workforce, consumers, and shareholders don’t want to buy what you do.  They want to buy into what you do.  Find your inner compass and get clear about why the world is better because you exist.

 

Question:  Have you worked for an organization with a clear sense of purpose?  How did that impact you as an employee?

 

Whether you’re a start up, or you need a restart, we can help you connect to the backbone of what you exist to do. Check out our Purpose Alignment services or email me at snasim@executiveexcellence.com directly to set-up a free 30 minute consultation.

8 Great Books for Purpose-Driven Leaders

“The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.”  That was the opening salvo of a September 1970 article published in The New York Times by Economist Milton Friedman. Political and business leaders alike welcomed Friedman’s message in a politically conservative era marked by oppressive inflation and climbing fuel prices.

That ushered in the rampant merger-and-acquisition frenzy of the 1980’s and 1990’s where big companies bought small ones to wring out profit.  Think Gordon Gecko’s, “greed is good” manifesto. Leaders rested their conscience knowing that they were bringing results to shareholders – regardless of the impact on society or the environment.

Recently, however, there has been an explosion of interest in defining purpose beyond the pursuit of profit.  Executives are becoming acutely aware of their role as stewards of the organization’s purpose.  In pursuit of that purpose, they balance return to shareholders with decisions that, at least in the short-term, may cost the company through reduced revenues or increased costs.

In keeping with purpose-driven leadership, we’ve compiled the most compelling titles with the help of our friend Rachel McKinney. Rachel is a passionate leader who is pursuing her own purpose-driven leadership mission in Cape Town, South Africa.  You can read more about her work on the Harvest of Hope project that helps urban farmers supply produce to local markets.  Here are the books we’ve selected to help you pursue your purpose-drive leadership path.

1. The Heart-Led Leader: How Living and Leading from the Heart Will Change Your Organization and Your Life by Tommy Spaulding

What it’s about: We live in a ‘what-driven’ society.  We measure ourselves by answering, “What do you do for a living?” or “What kind of car do you drive?”  Spaulding makes the case to focus instead on the ‘who.’  “Who am I?”  “Who do I impact?”  “Who do I want my children to be?”

Why pick it up: To remind us that in the long run it’s the ‘who’ questions that will give our lives more meaning and purpose.

 

2. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni

What it’s about: A compelling case for why organizations that thrive in the 21st century do so by focusing their efforts on organizational health over organizational smarts.

Why pick it up: For the brutally honest assessment it asks you to make about your own organization, and the practical tools to achieve your own organizational health.

 

3. Mission: How the Best in Business Break Through by Michael Hayman and Nick Giles

What it’s about: It redefines the entrepreneur as a social agent of change.  What was bad about business can be good when you clearly define, build and communicate your organizational purpose.

Why pick it up: This is a must-read. The most inspirational chapter is, ironically, the one on Failure.

 

 

4. Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

What it’s about:  A vision of profit as by-product of treating all stakeholders and the environment as ends and not means.  It includes waves of great examples of world-changing businesses.

Why pick it up:  To learn how pioneers of change are reshaping the world’s view of capitalism. Don’t start your business plan without it!

 

 

5. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

What it’s about: This book teaches you a lifestyle of picking your focus, serving those around you through mission-driven leadership, and being great at one thing: you.

Why pick it up: It reminds us that by investing in fewer things we have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter the most. This is a great tool for anyone feeling overwhelmed by life or with too many options.

 

6. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute 

What it’s about: The book is written like a novel with a shocking revelation. Simply put, this book will change your entire paradigm about how we treat others. It’s not a fluffy read, but a powerful tool for self-examination.

Why pick it up: Ideally, pick this one up in partnership with your team. It would be a great book club read because you will love it and want to share!

 

7. Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose by Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth and David Wolfe

What it’s about: Hard science and 30 case studies of companies that proved the ROI of a stakeholder relationship business model.

Why pick it up: To understand the business case for dropping the shareholder-biased purpose for business.

 

 

8. The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

What it’s about: 13 quick chapters outlining how our innate desire for impact, personal growth and community impact is changing the world.

Why pick it up: Because “running a company now without purpose is as reckless as in the early 90s without technology,” says the author.

If you include yourself among those called to build an economy that does good while doing well, these picks are your call to action.

 

Question: What books have inspired you toward a purpose-driven leadership journey?  

How to Keep Commitments by Checking Your PULSE

We read a lot about commitments this time of year.  According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, just 71% of people who made resolutions 12 days ago are still keeping them.  By the end of the year, only 8% typically succeed in keeping New Year’s their resolutions.  If you’re among those who have trouble keeping commitments to yourself, you may be sabotaging your own success.

To learn why, ask yourself these questions from the PULSE© model used by Wellness Specialist Jenny Jacobs:

 

1. What is your tendency to control or be controlled? In Get Unstuck and Shift That Paradigm, Jacobs says that we all have an internal paradigm that helps us justify what we believe and how we feel. Some people believe that most things that happen in their life – both good and bad – are under their control.  Others believe that they have no control and are victims of their world.  According to Jacobs, “There are things in life we can control and things we cannot. It is imperative to differentiate between these circumstances to truly achieve a balanced paradigm.”

 

2. Do your unique strengths need excavating? In Unearth Your Unique Strengths, Jacobs states that every one of us has unique strengths that we may not be tapping into. She writes, “Your life is a series of events that leaves a context. Each layer or event has made you who you are today. The exciting thing is that the strengths and character traits you possess are still present. The precious gifts that lie within you don’t disappear. They may become squelched or hindered but they still exist.”

 

3. Are you focused on the present? In How To Linger in the Present, Jacobs suggests that we tend to dwell in doubt, fear, and bitterness – none of which have to do with the present moment. She says, “Living in the present is not about making plans for the future. It is making right choices in the present that lead you into the future in a more empowering way.  But, it’s not an easy task. You literally have to tell your brain to STOP. Focus on the present. Focus on the sound of your breath. Focus on what is happening now and embrace it.”

 

4. Are you letting excuses run your life? Jacobs warns in 4 Ways to Surpass that Auto-Pilot Lifestyle not to wait for conditions to be perfect to start making changes. “Don’t wait until everything is just right. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.  You won’t enjoy your life if you don’t enjoy your challenges.”

 

 

5. What is holding me back from experiencing right now? Ever driven home from work and pull into the driveway with no memory of the drive?  Do you remember what you had for dinner last night?  Don’t allow your life to be an endless stream of unrecorded moments.  “Experience your life. Engage in your experiences. Get back in touch with the everyday-ness of your life,” Jacobs says in The Power to Act and Seize the Day.

 

Jacobs’ PULSE© model is an antidote to the resolution cycle.  It’s a way to connect with who you are, where you are, and why you do what you do on a daily basis. When you can do that, you’ll never need to make another New Year’s resolution for the rest of your life.

 

Question: Do you know someone who regularly keeps their commitments?  Are they more in touch with their daily behavior?

 

Join me and Jenny Jacobs this Thursday, April 14th in San Diego from
5:30-7:30 p.m. for RE:FRESH 2016! We will welcome 2016 in refreshing ways and rethink how we approach New Year’s resolutions. Learn more and register here:  http://executiveexcellence.com/refresh2016/

 

 

2016: The Year of Your WHY

The gifts are unwrapped.  The champagne poured.  The ball fell.  All of the year end holiday celebrations are behind us, and once again we face a fresh new year.

Those who will make 2016 a true success are not focused on their New Year’s resolutions – about what they will start doing or stop doing.  Instead, they are focused on their why.  They’ve taken the time to connect the dots of who they are with what they do.  And that is very powerful motivator.  They’ve tapped into how to make and keep commitments to themselves.

This year, get out of the cycle of failure.  Don’t be part of the 92% of those who make and break New Year’s resolutions.  Take the time to connect with your why.  Here are three simple questions to get you started.

1. What did you want to be before the world ‘should’ on you? You know.  “You should go into accounting.”  “You should take over your father’s law practice.”  “You should study medicine.” As Mark Albion writes in More Than Money, “It’s easy to slide into a career that matches your skills but not your deepest desires. When you get good at something you don’t want to do, you feel as if you’re dying a little bit each day – that your soul is being sucked out of you.  Worse yet, it takes time to realize what’s going on.”

 

2. What did you want to do when you were eleven or twelve? In Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham suggests that we remember our ‘yearnings’.  He writes, “Perhaps because of your genes, or your early experiences, as a child you found yourself drawn to some activities and repelled by others.  While your brother was chasing his friends around the yard, you settled down to tinker with the sprinkler head, pulling it apart so that you could figure out how it worked.  Your analytical mind was already making its presence known.”  Your purpose is hiding right beneath the surface of your life.  It threads between the major events of your life and opens windows of opportunity.

 

3.  What legacy do you want to leave?  Author Michael Gerber takes this idea to an extreme in his book The E-Myth Revisited. He asks that you imagine attending your own funeral.  All of your friends, your family, and your business associate are there.  Picture yourself lying in the box in the center of the room, then listen. Imagine what your colleagues would say about you.  Would they talk about the margins you gained?  The deals you closed?  The efficiencies you implemented?  Or, would they talk about the value you left behind?  How you helped them grow?  How they are better off because they knew you?  Starting today, you have the power to shape these conversations.

Rather than rushing to the gym or buying an organizer, take some time this month to connect with your why.  There’s no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.  Find your passion.  Connect with your why. Work on purpose.

 

Question: Do you know someone who is guided by a clear sense of purpose?  What differences do you see in their daily behavior?

 

Interested in finding your WHY?
Watch my recent SUE Talk on the importance of placing significance over success and connecting who you are with what you do.

 

How Ritual Can Enhance Your Leadership Legacy

Those of us who live in most of the United States or Canada, were reminded last weekend about time. Each spring and fall, we dutifully change our clocks by an hour, often griping about the hassle. Sometimes we do this only after missing an appointment, making the transition even worse.

It’s a hassle, yes. But this twice yearly ritual is an opportunity to reflect on how we are using our time. Some time ago, I heard Ken Blanchard talk about intentional leadership. He described the typical scene each morning when our alarm clocks go off.

We jerk out of bed and start rushing through our morning routines – leaving coffee rings, toast crumbs, and splattered toothpaste in our wake. We jump into our cars and rush to work, still in a state of panic. We climb out of our cars and into our desks. As we madly wait for our computers to boot up, the anxiety that yet another day may get the better of us begins to settle in.

“What if,” Ken suggested, “we turn this daily scenario on end? What if we think of our alarm clock as an opportunity clock?”

Think about it. When you start each day in a reactionary mode, you’re much less likely to achieve your most important goals. You move from reacting to the alarm clock to reacting to emails, to voicemails, and to urgent requests from others. By days’ end, that important project you’ve had on your to-do list for weeks has aged yet one more day.

What if, instead, you were to start each day focused on the opportunity to make the most of your next few waking hours? Suddenly, distractions and interruptions would fall away, and your priorities would become crystal clear.

Intentional leaders know that the countermeasure to living-by-alarm is living-by-ritual. What you make time for, and what you do not, become the leadership rituals that define your influence, your style, and your legacy.

Whether you decide to have a clean desk, an empty inbox, run every morning, or eat more vegetables, you are articulating your values and setting an example. You are creating a set of rituals that fill you with energy instead of drain you.

Here are 3 ways to take advantage of your daily opportunity clock:

 

1. Connect Your Rituals to Your Higher Purpose. To be an intentional leader, you must first connect your rituals to your own higher purpose. What are your values? How would creating strong rituals around those values move you and your organization toward your goals? Connecting rituals to your higher purpose gives them the power to inspire and motivate you when they seem hard to maintain. You can find simple exercises to help you do this in my book Work On Purpose.

2. Take the First Step. Once you have identified a ritual that aligns with your higher purpose, take a first step in the direction of your goal. Change one thing. One simple thing. Drink more water. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Spend the last 10 minutes of the day identifying 3 key actions for tomorrow. Any small change can be the start of your leadership ritual if it honors your values. Test your tendency toward keeping habits with this short quiz developed by Gretchen Rubin.

3. Repeat and Reinforce. To really lock this in, you need to keep up your new ritual. What support can you create in your environment to make this easy to maintain? Is there someone who will do this with you, help remind you, or keep you focused when you start to fall back into old patterns? Sometimes a reminder placed in plain view, or a change in furniture of your office or bedroom can be the jolt that keeps you on track. If you’re a techie, take advantage of smart phone reminder apps to help keep you on track.

 

Becoming an intentional leader is a journey. Decide today what your leadership journey is about, and develop the rituals that will support you and bring your values to life.

 

Question: Is something keeping you from focusing on your priorities? Please leave your comment below.

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Why Successful Companies are Built from the Purpose Up

Do you know why you’re here?

The question of purpose — the need to connect the why to the what and how — is the essence what it means to exist.   It’s the question of insatiably curious 4-year olds. It’s the question young adults seek to answer when traditional education falls short. It’s the question on the minds of the Millennial workforce, today’s consumers, and discerning shareholders when considering whether to work for, buy from, or invest in your company. 21st century America is heading toward a tipping point. The answer to the question of why organizations exist can no longer be simply to make a profit.

Consider these trends behind this tipping point:

  • 86% of Millennials in a 2011 study by Forbes reported that they believe businesses can have a positive social impact on the world, and they are optimistic about playing a role in that change.
  • 83% of U.S. consumers want more of the products and services they use to benefit causes.
  • 20% of shareholder-sponsored proposals of U.S. public companies focus on environmental and social concerns.

The case for defining and living your organizational purpose has never been more compelling. It’s the glue that will hold you fast in a world of constant technological, social, and economic change. It’s about being clear about your inner compass – about what should not change – so you can be liberated to challenge assumptions, test new theories, and remain relevant.

Traditional business based on the factory model is dying. The factory model dictates that products or services are cranked out with measurable output for as little cost as possible. Factories can be duplicated, even outsourced. Factories are filled with bureaucracy and clock watchers. Successful organizations of the 21st century will thrive with engaged people driven by the knowledge that their collective effort has intrinsic meaning.

And therein lies our leadership challenge. To connect our organizations with a purpose that rises above the bottom line. To weave that purpose into the organizational DNA so that it becomes part of everything from the strategic plan to employee incentives and rewards.

People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Creating meaningful impact beyond financial performance isn’t a nice-to-have—it’s a business imperative.


You’ve heard TED, but have you heard SUE?! I’ll be one of the inaugural SUE Talks Presenters on October 21st on this topic: Work On Purpose: How to Connect Who You Are With What You Do.  Hope you’ll join me for the launch of SUE Talks! www.suetalks.com

 

 

Question: Do you know your company’s why?

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“The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” That statement was part of an article written by economist Milton Friedman for The New York Times Magazine in September 1970. In the article, Friedman argued that the more profits that were returned to shareholders, the more money shareholders could use to do social good.

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Since publishing Work On Purpose last year, I have since had the honor of speaking and coaching on its principles. I open by telling the story of how something I heard on the radio one morning became a career-changing wake up call.  It lead me on a journey to connect with my purpose, and find work that truly made a positive impact in the world.  In closing, I challenge others to connect who they were with what they do for a living.  Then I take questions.  Without fail, this question is always in the top three: Read More