A letter from Kelly King: Why are you here?
Knowing the answer gives you a passion for life, helps you overcome obstacles more successfully and makes you happier. So it’s worth wrestling with the question and finding your own purpose as a leader.
Viktor Frankl wrote in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” which is one of the five books that have had the greatest influence on me, “When you know your Why, you can endure any How.” Paraphrased: When you are clear about your purpose in life, you can figure out how to overcome obstacles.
At BB&T, we have a leadership model focused on the reality that results are a function of behaviors, and behaviors are a function of beliefs. People behave in a way that is consistent with their beliefs. So, to understand ourselves and to understand and influence others, it is critical we know why we and they are here.
The reason we resolve to understand is because the most overarching belief in life is that quiet but powerful answer to the question, “Why are we here?” People who have never wrestled with that question typically go through life with a random, purposeless and directionless pattern of unsuccessful and unhappy experiences. They wander through life being blown by the winds of their environments. When obstacles inevitably occur, these people react with a fixed mindset and quickly become “victims,” blaming their unhappiness on others and taking no personal responsibility for their failures.
On the other hand, there are the people who take life seriously and understand that the essence of life can be expressed as this is the day God has given you to make your life matter and to make a difference. These people understand they should not worry about yesterday because they can’t change it and they should not wait for tomorrow to be happy because it may not come. These are the people who have figured out their “why” and purpose in life.
It is that purpose that gives them passion for life. Deep belief in their purpose will drive behaviors that create desired results. They will encounter obstacles, but when they do, they don’t quit or blame the world. Instead they dig in, focus, use all their energy to overcome obstacles and, ultimately, accomplish their dreams and goals in life. These people know why they are here. These people achieve success and, much more importantly, happiness.
Successful and happy people have an enthusiastic, positive attitude (EPA). While it is true we all experience difficulties in life, it is also true we get to choose how to respond to those difficulties. When life wants to drag us down, an EPA propels us forward and permits us to rise above the day’s circumstances and focus on our “why.” When combining clarity about why we are here with EPA, the result is a powerful, purpose-driven belief driving us forward to ultimate success and happiness.
Why are you here?
Kelly S. King
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Why leadership purpose matters: A message from Will Sutton
Welcome to the second issue of The BB&T Leadership Institute Magazine. We’re honored and excited to share our thoughts around a topic all of us seek to better understand: leadership purpose.
In this issue, we bring forth business psychologists’ research and perspectives from our experts about why finding and instilling purpose benefits employees of all levels, organizations and communities.
Our cover story features Easter Maynard, a leader who declares her organization’s purpose is simple: “We believe we’re in business to do good in the world.” She shares further leadership and philanthropy insight in a candid interview.
If you’re on a path to choosing leadership purpose for yourself and your organization, take our quick test called “Are You a Purposeful Leader?,” and then read about forming an action plan for higher purpose in “Seek. Instill. Lead.”
Leadership purpose can serve as your compass in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, or VUCA. It can guide you when you must make difficult or unpopular decisions. BB&T Leadership Institute Senior Vice President Steve Swavely, Ph.D., teaches you how to study past challenges to equip yourself for upcoming ones in “Life and Leadership Outside Your Comfort Zone.”
Also in this issue, we tell the story of William A. Hazel Inc., a Virginia-based general contractor that faced a host of VUCA factors when the founder retired and his successors attempted to transform the company’s culture during an economic downturn. The leaders of this family-owned firm worked with us to train its leaders and empower its employees to be creative problem-solvers.
We are proud to help leaders, like the ones we profile in this issue, so they and their organizations can succeed during these times of VUCA. Our flagship program, Mastering Leadership Dynamics™, provides leaders with valuable insight about their beliefs and behaviors so they can be more effective leaders. You can learn more about this program in “The Right Stuff” and about the state-of-the-art, 60,000-square-foot, retreatlike campus where it’s offered in “Building Peace of Mind.”
We hope you enjoy the stories in this second issue and draw inspiration for your own journey as a leader. You can find the inaugural issue of our magazine online, as well. Happy reading – and leading!
Will W. Sutton
President & Director
The BB&T Leadership Institute
Articles in Volume 1, Issue 2
Building Peace of Mind (Photo Essay)
Visit The BB&T Leadership Institute campus in Greensboro, North Carolina, to experience an atmosphere of discovery and reflection.
Easter Maynard Makes the World Better
Easter Maynard brings her leadership skills and a passion for helping children to numerous boardrooms of for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Learn and Lead Better
Discover leadership insights based on new research from the field of business psychology.
Life and Leadership Outside Your Comfort Zone
Use these methods from The BB&T Leadership Institute to learn to lead better when facing circumstances that push you out of your leadership comfort zone.
Meeting the Challenge
Former businessman Houston Cowan co-founded the nonprofits Challenge Aspen and Challenge America to provide skiing opportunities and life-affirming services for the disabled and military members.
Navigating a Changed Landscape
How general contractor William A. Hazel Inc. improved its leadership skills during a pivotal moment with the help of The BB&T Leadership Institute.
Quiz: Are You a Purposeful Leader?
A written leadership purpose statement can help guide your actions and behavior, especially during difficult times, and make you a more effective leader.
Read to Lead (Books)
Four new purpose-focused leadership books to improve your leadership skills, job performance and more.
Seek. Instill. Lead.
Developing a sense of higher purpose in business through executive leadership training builds both your employees’ productivity and your bottom-line numbers.
The Impactful Leadership of Public School Principals
The BB&T Leadership Institute is training public school principals throughout South Carolina and empowering them to deepen their impact on student success.
The Right Stuff (Program Insights)
Mastering Leadership Dynamics provides leadership development through valuable insight about leader beliefs and behavior, helping you become more effective.
Turning Students into Leaders
The BB&T Leadership Institute’s Emerging Leaders program for student leaders builds skills on campus and beyond at partner universities.
Why You Need a Proactive Talent Management Strategy (Talent)
Talent management extends from recruiting and onboarding to growing and retaining employees. A good talent management strategy pays off in productivity and in other ways.