The Servant Leader is servant first...Robert K. Greenleaf

Servant Leadership Email


This email containing a blog post by Cheryl Bachelder is longer than what I would normally want to send, but there is an activity in it that will help you zone in on your leadership purpose. Leadership isn’t about how you bark orders or manage, but it begins with finding out about you. As leaders we need to find how we can best serve the organization we lead and that begins with identifying personal mission. What are you here for?

Cheryl presented in a conference I attended last February. My journey with ACCESS Family Care is similar to hers with Popeyes, although mine is on a much smaller scale for sure. She started out as a board member for Popeyes and at the time Popeyes was turning into a sinking ship. Upon the CEO’s vacancy she applied for the position. She implemented the servant leadership philosophy and saw a huge turnaround that got Wall Street’s attention.  


Defining Your Personal Purpose

Posted by: Cheryl Bachelder

Do you know WHY you lead?

What if your airplane pilot said, “Welcome aboard. You should know that I have not prepared for today’s trip. I did not bring a map, I did not go to flight training, and frankly, I do not believe that I can get you to the destination safely.” You would not want to be on this flight!

The same is true of leadership. If you do not know WHY you lead, you will not be an effective leader.  You will have no clarity of the destination, no thoughtful preparation, and no convictions to share with those you lead. You will not have many followers.

Yet, in my informal survey, I find there are very few leaders that can tell me WHY they lead. As a result, very few are intentionally working on being that on-purpose leader for their team.

At Popeyes, we have developed a process for identifying your personal purpose for leadership. Defining your purpose inspires people; inspired people out perform uninspired.

In Defining Your Personal Purpose, you will decide what difference you will make for others. Then, you will be able to focus your daily actions on that purpose and experience the performance benefits and joy of your purpose. The only rule: your purpose must impact OTHERS. If you would like to examine your purpose for leadership, set aside about ½ a day for thoughtful reflection, and use these exercises to help you reach a written statement of your purpose and principles.
  1. Lifeline: In this exercise, reflect on your life experiences to determine what events shaped you, making you the person you are today.
  2. Value Cards: Using a set of value cards, you will identify the top five values that are important to you.
  3. Principles: Taking the learning from your life line and value cards, develop three leadership principles that are essential to your view of leadership.
  4. Purpose: Using the lessons of your principles, shape a statement that captures why you lead. This statement defines specifically what kind of leader you will be for your team. It should be written in a way that you will know exactly what you need to do daily to live up to your purpose.
  5. Action: Now that you have written your purpose statement, determine three action steps that you will take to make it evident to those you lead. Put the action items on your calendar. You may want to keep a journal to observe how people respond to your new purpose of leadership.
Some find this process very clear and straightforward. They say “I always have focused on this, but now it is more concrete and is driving more focus in my leadership.” But frankly, this is less than 20% of the people. Most say, “I really struggled with this exercise. The first purpose I wrote seemed empty, even untrue. I wrestled with my purpose and principles for days, before it began to authentically express who I am.” This is more typical. Take the time to reflect on your purpose and principles. It may be several months before you land on a true expression of yours.

We have been teaching this workshop to our Popeyes support team members and we’ve learned that there are some “tests” that help you determine if your purpose is well defined and likely to have an impact on those you lead. Here are the tests:
  • Authenticity Test: Find a person who knows you well and tell them your lifeline, your values, and your purpose and principles. Ask them if they ring true to who you are. Is this the authentic you?
  • Others Test: Ask yourself, “If I lead like this, will the people I lead be better off?” Leadership is about how you lead others. If your purpose and principles is only about you, revise it. It should be FOR the people you lead.
  • Action Test: Ask yourself, “Now that I have this statement, what exactly will I do differently to make it evident to those I lead?” If you can’t determine at least three specific action steps you will take as a result of your purpose and principles, go back and edit it to be so clear and specific that it will drive you to clear action steps.
  • 100 Day Test: Implement your action steps for 100 days.  Then stop and reflect on your purpose and principles.  Is it accurate, authentically you?  Are there subtle changes you want to make? Make edits and test them again with questions 1-3.
Defining Your Personal Purpose isn’t easy, but it can be done and will reap great benefit for you and your teams. I went through this process as well and determined that my personal purpose is to …

Develop purpose-driven leaders who exhibit competence and character in all aspects of their lives.

Through this exercise, I discovered that my purpose can inspire and develop capable servant leaders … as a means to delivering exceptional performance results for Popeyes franchisees, team members, and shareholders.

After defining my purpose, I decided I wanted to be a leader in The Purpose of Leadership conversation, hence the inception of my blog where I share my journey in helping others realize their purpose.

You can access the presentation and handout materials for Defining Your Personal Purpose HERE. These materials may also be used to teach this to your team members.

ACCESS Family Care

What is Servant Leadership?

The skills of influencing people to enthusiastically work toward goals identified as being for the common good, with character that inspires confidence.
--James C. Hunter
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