The theme of this year’s ACEO conference is something that the whole team worked on with particular enthusiasm and I believe that it mobilized the 400 members who attended. “Purposeful leadership” by definition makes us think first on the question of what is our purpose as human beings.
Our life purpose consists of driving goals – the reasons we start our day every morning, those that guide our life decisions, those that shape our behavior, those that give us a sense of direction, those that make sense and entail our personal imprint on this world.
For most people, the purpose is strongly associated with work, since work gives meaning to their daily lives. Let’s broaden this particular question by approaching the issue of whether there is a higher purpose in the businesses we run or not.
The importance of Purposeful Leadership did not arise as a simple necessity of the times. It is the result of continuing historical, social, economic, and political turmoil. The ancient Greek philosophers addressed the concept of common good. The ancient Stoics argued that “living a virtuous life” means “living in accordance with nature”.
From the model of charismatic and often distant Leadership of the past we have moved to that of purposeful leadership since, more than ever before, humanity needs inspirational leaders.
Such leaders have radically changed the world. They have created the future that is now our present. We need only to think about the concept of human rights and equality without Nelson Mandela. In today’s globalized environment, the role of businesses and their leaders is that of a shaper of events and not that of an observer of events.
In the last two years, we have overcome a pandemic together, being reminded of the dependence on each other. We became a chain in order to achieve a common goal. Now, we have to do it again. A war is escalating day by day with no immediate prospects of a ceasefire. Inflation and price increases have gone through the roof and they affect the weakest and most disadvantaged sections of society. Climate change has bared its teeth and it “bites”. Tomorrow is not a given.
In the past, we, as business leaders, could afford to focus on the tree, on our goals, our responsibilities, our business sector, our human capital. These days, we should all focus on the forest for the common good.
Dr. Martin Luther King once delivered a stirring and memorable speech known as “I have a dream”. His vision inspired people, it mobilized them and the world and history witnessed a significant change.
Our starting point could be “I Have a Purpose”.
With all this in mind, I would like to call on you to be inspired and reflect on our future moves. Let’s spend some meaningful time on thinking what we desire to be the higher purpose of our undertakings. Let’s focus on it and work as a team and responsibly to achieve it.
I truly wish that all these thoughts, opinions, studies and leadership experiences presented at the 33rd ACEO Conference will become an incubator of positive change and of more actions with a social footprint. These days, we should all focus on the forest for the common good.