Leadership Today
Reflections from Good to Great and Beyond Great, part 5

Last time we talked about man's "search for significance." We continue in that vein today.

Some societies and cultures encourage people to pursue tangible/physical dreams. In the United States there are expressions such as “living the American dream.” This phrase boasts that people can dream of accomplishing things for themselves and their family, and in the USA there is the freedom to work hard to accomplish it. It is a powerful motivator. Sometimes people flee from one country to another simply to have that kind of freedom and opportunity.
These types of accomplishments alone though, even with their powerful motivation, come up short in terms of eternal significance. Chuck Swindoll, Pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, recently spoke about the spiral of pursuit that can trap us in earthly dreams. 
He warned:
“We work hard.
We earn more.
We spend more.
We climb higher.
We work harder.
We earn even more.
We spend still more.”
And the cycle repeats. It can leave us simply exhausted, and at the same time frustrated with the lack of meaning and significance—“chasing after the wind.”
A Dallas business man, Bob Buford, illustrates that some people, after accomplishing “greatness” in business, fight to find a fulfillment in the second half of their lives. He authored a book called Halftime[1] that focuses on this. 
He personally decided to leave his position as CEO and owner of a highly successful television cable service company so that he could pursue “meaning” on another path. Bob founded and now leads “The Buford Foundation and Leadership Network.” They support churches with leadership resources. The Christian Management Association awarded Mr. Buford its most prestigious award in 2005 to recognize the accomplishments of his “second half.”
Buford has now written another book that tells the stories of some 60 professionals who have accomplished significant things in their second career-life. That book is called Finishing Well[2].
The point is that no matter the riches and earthly accomplishments, some professionals are now making dramatic, life changing transformations in their careers and lives in order to find and pursue something of significance.
Some of us are moved in a direction of transformation due to "pain." Next time we will consider that circumstance.
Many thanks,

Larry Meeker
President, Advanced Team Concepts

[1] Bob Buford, Halftime: Changing your Game Plan from Success to Significance (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994).
[2] Bob Buford, Finishing Well: What People Who Really Live Do Differently? (Nashville: Integrity Publishers, 2004).


Reflections from Good to Great and Beyond Great, part 4

Every human being needs meaning in his or her life—something of importance, something that has direction and purpose. At times, for people in leadership roles, it can be a very conscious longing. It can even be painful—to realize that despite lots of hard work, we have not accomplished anything of eternal significance. We are tired from our labor and yet struggle to find meaning in all that we have done.

A classic book addressing the importance of purpose to humans is Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Victor E. Frankl.[1] His knowledge on this subject is grounded in his personal story. You see, he was a survivor of the concentration camp, Auschwitz, during World War II. 
Dr. Frankl was a psychiatrist. He had enjoyed a good practice; he and his family lived the good life. During World War II he was rounded up with millions of others and taken to a “hell on earth.” His book and his later theories in the field of psychiatry are based on what he experienced and learned in those circumstances that were more horrific than most of us can even imagine.
In his book, Frankl shares stories that relay how important meaning was to those who were not executed, but instead put to work. “Meaning” in their lives turned out to be essential, even to survive. It sustained them. They leaned toward it as a way to pass through the helplessness and pain of the present.
Having something significant yet to do can be an essential driver in our lives. I encourage you to ponder this deeply. Try to imagine how your business might be a vehicle for you to accomplish things on a higher level.
Next time we will consider a few thoughts by Charles Swindoll and Bob Buford on this topic.
Many thanks for following the discussion,

Larry Meeker
President, Advanced Team Concepts

[1] Viktor E Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (Washington: First Washington Square Press, 1985).




Reflections from Good to Great and Beyond Great, part 3

Beyond Great

Much has been written about how to achieve business success—volumes of literature and theories. Walk into any large bookstore, enter the section on “management and business” and you can be overwhelmed with the assortment of books to choose from. Log into your favorite search engine. Key in “leadership.” You will get a return of hundreds of millions of articles, companies, websites and resources.
Much of this information suggests strategies for success. Unfortunately, much of it comes up short in explaining the underlying foundational principles that make the observations true or possible. The findings are interesting, and the instructions are often helpful. To reach great and go beyond, we will need to understand the critical foundational principles and then build on them. 
 “Good” levels of company performance, or maybe even “great” levels, might be obtainable by simply applying principles—in other words, by trying to conform to the models or techniques of others.
With Beyond Great we will be looking for a radical result. Rather than conforming, it will require transformation. One must embrace the principles and live them, not just apply them. 
Transformation then, is the unifying essence of stretching Beyond Great.
The essence of Beyond Great—to fulfill more than just financial success; to have success that in addition satisfies and fulfills the spirit, of ourselves and of all those we include in the enterprises that we lead.
At this point, we hope you find this to be very thought provoking. To go Beyond Great, company leaders must put their eyes on the eternal horizon. Christian leaders seem best suited to do this. They are familiar with important eternal lessons God provides in order to stretch us in supremely important areas of success.
In some respects, Beyond Great is a “wakeup call” to organizational leaders. The status quo may be far short of the potential eternal impact of the company.

Warm regards,

Larry Meeker
President, Advanced Team Concepts


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