I have spent the majority of my career running several of the business units in Luck Companies thus having the good fortune of being profit and loss accountable. And back in the day, “I loved it.” There was no greater feeling than when a sales report came out at the end of the month that read 110% of goal or even better, a P&L statement showing everything in the black; talk about white eyed roll-back. Upon receiving the reports, I would immediately start firing out the proverbial “you are amazing” emails to everyone while simultaneously roaming the halls backslapping and high-fiving anyone in my path. However make no bones about it, by 7:00 the next morning (the first business day of the month), the fun and games were over and any successes we may have had were a distant memory. It was time to get back to business.
In my new position as Chief Leadership Officer, I am no longer involved in the day to day running of businesses and focus the majority of my time now in leadership development activities both inside and outside the company. Over the last few months I have been interviewing candidates for a new role in our department and became quite interested in a young lady who has quite a story. Clearly she has been working hard since a very young age to make her own way, develop herself personally and professionally and in 2011, graduate from college. Finding the right job has been tough for her however she has stayed diligent in her sourcing, practicing for interviews and rigorously followed up when appropriate. After multiple interviews with us, and during the third intense round with me, I made her an offer. And for the first time, our newest associate finally let her guard down. What followed was one of the most heartfelt and emotional expressions of gratitude, relief and excitement that all her hard work had finally paid off. And for me, the sense of meaning and fulfillment was palpable given the significance of the moment, for both of us.
Vocabulary.com defines significance as “having the quality of being significant – meaningful and important.” It goes on to say: “Significance starts with the word sign for a reason. An item’s significance is a sign of its importance.” And unlike my old sales reports and P&L’s that became things of the past within 24 hours, this moment has stayed with me given its meaning and importance. My thoughts also go to the many opportunities that present themselves to us everyday to be significant in someone else’s life. We are reminded of this opportunity by Albert Schweitzer in his famous quote, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out… we should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
Luck Companies is a for-profit company celebrating our 90th year this year. And if you asked most of our associates what has been the key to our success they would in their own words speak to our value proposition. A philosophy that says: “We believe doing good, making a difference in the lives of others, is the best path to doing well, making money.” For me, it just took a few extra years to embrace this belief. And moments like the one described above continue to re-affirm it, along with my personal feelings that there truly is no comparison between success and significance.