Monthly Archives: July 2009

Leadership and Developing Self – The “Outside-In” approach

     Having the opportunity to work in many different organizations provides me with a unique perspective on how people approach their work. I have consistently found that people who have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their life don’t seem to consistently struggle with the whole “work-life balance thing.” A leader in a global organization told me that their employee research has shown that the people who have a real sense of purpose and identity outside of work have fewer issues around work-life “balance.”
     A wonderful book I recently came across is The Power of Helping Others. It is the story of a medical doctor Gary Morsch, who started the organization Heart to Heart. It is a wonderful story about creating meaning and purpose by giving something back. Heart to Heart started as a dream and is now an international charitable organization serving the needy with medical support and care. With volunteers, the work in performed in the poorest countries of the world. Morsch’s need to serve others grew out of the desire to use his talent in a way that makes a difference.
     I know we all will not go out and create a global non-profit. But we don’t need to! We can define our purpose and meaning in different ways. Working with a local charity, using your talents to support a kid’s soccer association, helping out with your local church are just a few examples of creating space outside of work that allows you to be happier inside of work … in essence the Outside-In approach.
     Looking back on my career, I was happiest in my work when I followed this approach. Over the last several years, part of my personal leadership journey has been to create a platform and work in a way that allows me to support my family, give something back to society and help others in need.
     The lesson for leaders –create space for you first, then others will follow. Give yourself permission to work from the outside in. Develop yourself first and you will create space for others to do the same.