On July 18th, 2014 my staff honoured me with a farewell luncheon. We spent 3 hours eating, drinking, laughing, telling stories, remembering unique experiences and expressing the impact we have all made on each others’ lives. After 7 very rewarding years as their President & CEO, the time had arrived for me to say good bye.
As I look back on those years, I asked myself what was my greatest reward. We did set many corporate goals, which were achieved consistently each year. We expanded our facilities, launched a new division, added product and service offerings and were able to reposition ourselves to be market leaders among all other competitors. The company was certainly better off than ever before in its corporate history. By all measures of satisfaction, I/we were pleased.
But such success did not answer the question. From those seven years, what was life’s greatest reward? My greatest reward was simply seeing the growth in each person’s life and their expressed appreciation for the contribution I might have made as part of their life’s journey.
Life’s greatest reward is not in what we might tangibly receive but the good we do to help other’s achieve their full potential. It is about making a positive change in the lives of those we are in relationship with. This is the essence of leadership.
Listed below are but a few of my friends comments about “life’s lessons learned”. These were written in a special book gifted to me and which I will treasure the rest of my days. Read carefully:
-The value of being heard is greater than the fear of speaking up!
-To be yourself, honest, don’t be afraid to tell a funny story about yourself. Work hard and be open/approach to all your work colleagues.
-Understand the importance of value-based leadership.
-Regardless of your employment status in the organization, we ARE all valued/treated the same.
-To lead people, walk behind them.
-You can be a strong leader and still have fun and enjoy the simple things in life-like a good laugh.
-Honest and caring leaders are the types of people I will get in line to work for and hopefully strive to be in the future.
-There is more than just the “business” side to being a good leader.
-The importance of gathering your courage in order to make tough, important personal decisions.
-I now understand the depth of my own capabilites.
-Have a sense of humour.
-Never forget who you really are.
-Always be thankful for what you have.
-The value in remembering someone’s name.
-Have a genuine care for others, a positive attitude and a sense of humour. These are what separates a good boss from a great leader.
-Treat EVERYONE with the utmost courtesy.
-Have an attitude of gratitude and always try to find the silver lining.
-You can get away with saying almost anything as long as you follow it up with a goofy laugh.
-A good leader is also very human.
-Don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn from them.
-Supporting everyone, through anything-all the time.
-Embrace change and look for exciting opportunities to learn and be challenged from change.
-Set big goals then get the right folks on the bus and then go for it.
-The uniqueness of professionalism with a smile.
-Leaders should be inspirational.
-You can do anything you put your mind to.
-Public speaking can be easy: just smile, make a joke and be confident.
-Que sera, sera.
-CEO’s should be approachable and easy to joke around with.
-Make sure the office is empty before you start signing Disney songs in the kitchen.
-Always do your homework. Be prepared.
-The power of attitude. Those with the right attitude can accomplish anything.
-The importance of vision and the use of strategy in business development.
-Great leadership takes laser-like focus, determination and above all, humanity. You are more than a leader, you are a whole person and your team is simply not resources, they too are people.
-Everyone deserves a chance.
-Never, never, never, give up!
As tokens of appreciation for my 7 years of service, I received 2 very nice gifts. One was a camera to shoot pictures while joining my elder brothers on a moose hunt in Newfoundland. The other was an oil painting that hung in my office during my tenure but now will hang in my home as a reminder of the great years I had serving the people who built a successful company.
While these gifts will be treasured, the above words which were expressed verbally and in writing, will forever be etched in my mind and constantly referenced as new relationships are formed and experiences enjoyed.
In every holy book written there is one common saying. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” If we follow that simple principle, the reward we receive will be life’s greatest.
Your comments are welcomed.
The next update will be July 31st, 2014.