At a CEO dinner that I attended last night, Craig Burris, the President and Founder of SmartCEO magazine, asked me a thought-provoking question that led to an intriguing dinner conversation amongst our table members. “What is your personal mission?”, he enquired. And quickly followed that up with, “And what’s your vision for your company?”

FutureHe went on to say that answering those two questions has been a major focus for him as he seeks to build his own business and engage his employees in something bigger than themselves.  And, he believes that when those two components are aligned, work is no longer really work – it becomes a vehicle to achieve your personal mission – to create something bigger than yourself.

I would agree.  Three of the most well-respected and effective leaders I knew in my career at Procter and Gamble – – Al Austin, LouAnn Eckert-Lynch, and Al Weingast – were all very mission-driven managers.  And wonderful bosses and mentors because of their drive and their passion.

Al Austin was my second boss, a department manager who ran an 85 person department making Bounty paper towels, who’s mission to create a caring and productive work place had been significantly shaped by his experience flying back seat in Phantoms during the Vietnam war.    He as one of the calmest – and kindest – people I had ever met and his dedication to the people who worked for him was legendary.

Lou Ann Eckert-Lynch and Al Weingast were two managers who I worked with at Staten Island during a particularly difficult downsizing and subsequent plant closing.  They both shared a common mission that encompassed fully supporting the people with whom they worked, even if the message that they delivered wasn’t what people wanted to hear but rather, what they needed to hear for their own growth and development.  Their candor and concern carried a 500 person facility through a very trying and challenging time and I am still in debted to both of them for supporting me in my growth as a leader.

So I’m wondering – what’s your personal mission?  And how does it help to drive you and the people who you are leading?

If you’re not clear on the answers to those questions, I’ll be sharing some resources with you in my next post that you should definitely check out.

And in the meantime – plan on attending our 7th Annual Growth Strategies B’fast on Friday, March 15th at 7:30am at the Union League to hear our guest speaker, best-selling author, former Inc 500 CEO and Inc columnist, Kevin Daum give you insights into “Creating Your Preferred Future“. Click here for more info and to register – there are only a few seats left.[hr]

Click here to read How to Become an Exceptional Leader Part I.

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