The world has experienced many significant events in the last 200 years and noticeably so in the last 25. From the fall of the Berlin wall and the advent of the Internet to 9/11 and the great recession, much has happened that has altered how we see things. As John Mackey states in his book Conscious Capitalism, “these factors have dramatically changed society and created a transformed landscape for business.” He goes on to say, “all of these changes and challenges offer great business opportunities, but they cannot be effectively addressed if we use the same mental models we have operated with in the past.” This being said, there is a substantial amount of evidence illuminating the fact that leaders and subsequently leadership and business may not be evolving with the changing world.
Recent data from global surveys indicates an alarmingly low rate of trust, loyalty, hope, and optimism about the future among workers. These feelings (along with other dimensions measured) about paid work continue to push the critical metric of associate engagement down to levels in the 23% to 30% range in 2013 assessments. At this rate, it is estimated that some $500 billion annually is being lost as a result of such factors as lower productivity and employee frustration. In 2013 alone some 19 million employees, or 13% of the US workforce is estimated to have left their jobs. John Mackey sums it up best in saying that “most companies are still doing business using mind-sets and practices that were appropriate for a very different world.” We believe it is time to change that.
At Luck Companies, we have been in the human business for 90 years extending back to 1923 when our founder Charles Luck Jr. started the company on the philosophy, “If you do right by your people, they will do right by you.” Today, his beliefs are manifested in our company’s value proposition of “Doing good – making a difference in the lives of our associates, is the best path to doing well – exceptional personal and business performance.” Day in and day out we focus not only on what we do, but also on how and why we do it with a culture that prioritizes enterprise- wide alignment to a set of timeless core values and a purpose beyond just making money. Our mission (or purpose), “We will ignite human potential through Values-Based Leadership and positively impact the lives of others around the world,” leverages the fact that all human beings are born with the extraordinary potential to live a life of meaning and contribution, and speaks to Values-Based Leadership as the activator of that potential. We define Values-Based Leadership (VBL) as, “living, working, and leading in alignment with your personal core values, principles, beliefs, and purpose to in turn ignite the extraordinary potential in those around you,” a philosophy and practice similar to other styles such as Authentic, Servant and Truly Human Leadership.
Today, five years into our mission, we have experienced first hand the power of Values-Based Leadership and its capacity. We have witnessed the exponential effect of an ignited or actualized human being and the impact that one life lived meaningfully well can have on so many others both inside and outside our company walls. We have traveled the world to share our work, ideology, and VBL model, and remain humbled by the ongoing feedback about the difference it has made in peoples’ lives globally. And while our mission is clearly the meaning we aspire to make, its manifestation in how and the resulting culture where associates can make a difference while making a living is what we are most proud of. An environment that we believe will serve us well in the future of work.
(About the Author: Having a passion for inspiring people to believe in themselves and become everything they are capable of becoming, Mark is charged with transforming Luck Companies into a global Values Based Leadership (VBL) organization. In his role as Chief Leadership Officer, he serves as a thought leader for the ongoing development of the VBL ideology and model, and is responsible for the integration of VBL within Luck Companies. Mark’s work also extends beyond Luck Companies’ doors and includes sharing the VBL model through mentoring, speaking, teaching, and consulting with organizations of all sizes, across all industries and all geographies.
Mark is an active member of the Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship and was recently selected as one of the 100 Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business 2014 by Trust Across America and Switch and Shift’s Top 75 Human Business Champions. His genuine interest in helping people flourish is fueled by his deeply held belief in the extraordinary potential of all human beings and peoples’ ability to experience an exceptional quality of life once their potential is actualized.)