One of the most significant milestones in the quest to awaken true leadership is when an individual realizes their fundamental strengths and purpose; when a leader discovers their core and true innate ability. At that moment, a person discovers their leadership authenticity and their north star.
The Chairman of an Indonesian company, completed a program with us, which gave him great clarity on his purpose, specifically a combination of his gifts, strength, and raison d’etre. He was passionate about helping people live their lives more fully; about helping people release their inner potential and achieving their own purpose. But, he was unclear as to what was next for him as well as who was going to be his successor. Nevertheless, from the work he did with us his purpose evolved to integrate his business purpose as well as an essential part of his soul.
His tremendous gravitas has been a constant compass and motivator in his life. He has always cared very deeply about the world. And despite all his great business success, including being at the helm of tremendous financial growth ($200M to $6B in 6 years) what truly drives him is his humanity and genuine compassion for people. Today, he is determined to bring financial strength and prosperity to the people of Indonesia, by endeavoring to create 2 million jobs in the region.
Like most of us, there’s much more to him than meets the eye. On the surface, he’s soft-spoken and contained. But to know him truly is to know that he comes alive when playing his electric guitar, and specifically the music of his favorite band, Guns and Roses. Yes, you read that right! When he’s not discussing revenue generation and market growth, he’s probably talking about how great the reverb is on one of his 21 electric guitars or hearing the volume go off the meter on one of nine favorite amplifiers. And while he has always kept his passion for music separate from his formal responsibilities in the business world, his love for rock and roll has never wavered.
If we all came to work fully integrated, how would that influence the people around us? Our teams? Our business? I started by asking this simple question: “Do you have a guitar in your office or at least a photo of your favorite guitar?” “No,” he shared sheepishly. He felt that being the chairman, having his guitar on display wouldn’t have been proper, given how he is supposed to appear… And here lies the rub. We all think we are “supposed to be” a certain way that isn’t the real us. We wear a mask or in his case, keep the line drawn between musical passion and his business persona. So often we see leaders “being” something other than who they truly are, and quite frankly we miss their uniqueness, their authentic selves, what makes them brilliant in their own way. What we have come to learn in helping leaders be more authentic, is that it is our messiness, our uniqueness, and our imperfections that make us far more human and accessible than the perfection we think we are supposed to be.
Integrating the two different sides of this leader’s personality, brought him multiple results including giving him renewed energy and excitement for life so that he no longer feels he has to play a role and can simply enjoy being his beautiful self. This also made him more accessible to others and set an example for others to allow themselves to be more authentic. He will use his upgraded purpose as a criterion for choosing his next steps whether it is becoming a minister for his country’s cabinet or joining a VC firm where he can bring his talents, energy, and rock to young entrepreneurs.
Although he’s a very talented guitar player, I think it’s safe to say that he probably won’t be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But, he is definitely a rock star. The Indonesian Chairman had the strongest profit margin of any the operations in the world. And, this company’s Indonesian region is the fastest growing market for the multinational consumer goods company.
Despite his tremendous success as a business leader, his leadership legacy won’t be about market share or profit margins. It will be that he helped so many others see their maximum potential, and realize their best selves. His revised purpose finally integrated his soul’s passion for music, “I want to help people live their rock ‘n’ roll so they can release their inner Eric Clapton.” That is a perfect metaphor to define what this man’s leadership authenticity truly is.