I believe the primary characteristic of a great leader is core essence. A leader must understand that there is a power greater than oneself and that their life purpose is more about others than themselves -- their CORE ESSENCE - the fundamental reason for being here. Your CORE ESSENCE is the key element which drives you in doing what you do best. Many have gone on personal journeys to discover why they are here? We've all heard of people "trying to find oneself", in actuality they are searching for their purpose for being here on earth. It's a journey we all should go on.
Why are you here? What are you here to accomplish? What legacies are you designed to leave "ahead" for the next generation? What is your personal purpose statement?
For most, a personal purpose statement is very difficult to complete. First of all, many have not taken the time to write a purpose statement. We're too busy with everything else. It is not an easy exercise to do and can take months to complete. Here are a series of questions, if answered will assist you in identifying your purpose statement, your reason for being here on earth.
Start out by asking your Creator what He had planned for you and your business when He thought about you. Sit down with your journal and write the top 10 items that truly bring you joy. Then write the top ten items in which you are most proud of accomplishing. However, do not list your spouse or your children...that's a given. If you could do anything in the world without having to worry about time or finances, what would you do? Continue to allow your mind to wander by asking yourself and your Creator, what were you created to do? After going through these exercises, complete the following statement: I was created to: _____. That statement is the first draft of your personal mission statement - your purpose statement.
Now, match your purpose statement to your value system. Are they aligned? Since every decision and every action you take is based on your code of values, they will need to be closely aligned? In other words, if you have to go against your value system to accomplish your life's purpose then you are creating internal conflict and will not find fulfillment in your life's journey. Your values will determine how you will accomplish your life's purpose. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, values are defined as:
1. Social. The ideas, customs, institutions of a society toward which the people of the group have an affective regard. These values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom or education or negative as cruelty, crime or blasphemy.
2. Ethics. Any object or quality desirable as a means or as an end to itself.
As Extraordinary leaders we understand that our core values are based on our belief system. Belief systems defined by our family, our religion, our upbringing, our culture and even our communities. So what makes us different? I believe we understand that we also must answer to a higher authority- your Creator. With that fundamental belief we are more inclined to order our steps and actions in ways which are pleasing to your Creator. For example, loving your neighbor (co-worker) as you love yourself prevents you from talking badly or gossiping about your co-worker.
Many of the values we hold true to in the United States are based on a group of men's belief system and their religion. Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States? What do you see as the fundamental element in the value system of the United States? If you are from another country, what is the fundamental element of your country's value system? Now what about you? What is the foundation of your value system? Where do your personal and/or family values stem from? I challenge you to dig deep by identifying the top ten values you live by on a day to day basis.
As Extraordinary business leaders, we must understand that values are the way we do business. Ken Blanchard, co-author of "Managing by Values" believes that values are an extraordinary powerful force in shaping organizations. Richard Osborne calls it the soul of a corporation. Graydon Wood, vice president of ethics and business conduct at NYNEX states that "ethics and core values are the fundamental elements to an organization's reputation in the marketplace". He goes on to imply that the company's reputation, the trust people have in your business is directly translatable into market share and therefore into corporate success."
Values which are most admired in leaders include: honesty, integrity, forward-looking, ability to inspire and competence. When thinking of honesty and integrity, one thinks of ethics. Today, many business leaders use the term business ethics. Should there be such a term? What does this term imply for you and your organization? Does it mean that within business you are allowed to "stretch the truth" however in your own ethical system you would call this an untruth? Forward looking means being able to be more strategic or being a visionary. Setting a vision for your company and your team is paramount to leading then to a higher level of excellence. Your ability to motivate and inspire your team members will also cause them to become more creative in accomplishing the company vision. Finally, competence is simply knowing what you do and sharing what you know.