Last Saturday, a few glasses of wine into a visit with friends, we were talking about life and how to find meaning in all its ups and downs. My husband mentioned Viktor Frankl’s highly influential book, ’Man’s Search for Meaning’ and its influence on him. I won’t do the book justice so please forgive my superficial summary but its main thesis is that human beings have a prime motivation to find meaning in life and meaning is found from three key sources: work, love, and suffering. This is the stuff of hours of conversation so not to be tackled here but I would like to share some thoughts about leading with purpose that this conversation surfaced for me.
Our company was founded by Luke Sklar who, after stints in marketing and advertising, dedicated himself to building a different type of marketing consultancy: one that puts ‘helping others succeed’ above all else and takes a pragmatic, business-oriented approach to research and consulting. He lived and breathed this purpose and although he inspired us with his well-crafted, passionate, and always funny storytelling, it was his everyday actions that spoke volumes. He was the first one at his desk every morning and by the time the rest of us arrived for the day, Luke was already in deep conversation with clients, acting as much therapist as consultant.
His passion for helping clients radiated from his office and jumpstarted everyone’s day. By the time we got to our desks, we were determined to take on client challenges with the same smarts and passion that Luke demonstrated. We vowed to grab him and our colleagues for a 10-minute terror and harness the power of the team. We committed ourselves to looking at that report ‘just one more time’ to make it even sharper.
This is the impact of a great leader. They inspire everyone around them to be better. And in being better, we find meaning and purpose in our work.
Luke’s lesson was that actions matter. Whatever your title, work to make those around you better. Create meaning for them and in turn, for yourself.