A couple of weeks ago I shared with you the importance of knowing why you work and how you can put into words your purpose of leadership. While we’ve tried to make the process simple, knowing where to begin can often be difficult.
Over the next eight weeks, I’d like to share with you interviews with Popeyes leaders as well as leaders at other companies that are inspired by personal purpose. Leaders who have defined their purpose for leadership – a purpose that is individually unique, but has the potential to impact others in a powerful, positive way. Hopefully, in reading these stories, you will be encouraged in your journey to defining your purpose for leadership.
This week, we continue with Scott MacLellan. Scott serves as chief executive officer of TouchPoint Support Services, a division of Compass Group. An unwavering champion of the support service and healthcare industries, MacLellan has spent his entire 30 year career in these fields. Key positions have included CEO of Morrison Management Specialists and prior to that, Co- Founder and CEO of Foodbuy, now the largest food service buying organization in the country.
Cheryl – When asked to describe yourself as a leader, what thoughts come to mind?
Scott – You’d have to ask my team to describe how I actually lead as compared to how I think I lead, but the feedback I’ve gotten over the last 30 years is that I’m driven, strategic, balanced, team oriented and results oriented. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so I hope what I encourage people to do is to innovate and have fun at what they do. Nothing is more satisfying than to see someone create something new that adds value…and then to see their joy in watching it grow into something accepted by the marketplace as the new standard of excellence.
Cheryl – What life experiences have shaped you?
Scott – The two things that shape me more than anything else are family and faith. My daughter is a three-time cancer survivor, has had two liver transplants and more than 150 surgeries in her lifetime. That experience shaped all of us in significant ways. One of the ways that impacted me was to bring me to the end of myself, and closer to God. My life has never been the same since.
Cheryl – What are your core values and principles?
Scott – The things that drive me as a leader are stewardship and excellence. My overriding goals are to serve the business, our customers and our people. I wake up every day looking to leave everything I touch better than I found it, and to raise up the next generation of good stewards to take the business to a higher level still. We have all been given the privilege of having something handed to us, no matter what our role is in our companies. Maybe we’ve been entrusted to run a department, or to produce a product. Whatever it is, we are there to serve that opportunity and make the best of it we possibly can.
Cheryl – So, what really motivates you about your work, your opportunity to lead? Do you have a personal purpose?
Scott – Cheryl really helped me with this. I had grown into a place where I understood that my job was to serve rather than be served, but it was more of a general concept that didn’t always translate into something real for me. But when Cheryl showed me how to develop a purpose statement for work specifically, it took my passion and enthusiasm to a whole new level. I’m now “on purpose” wherever I am, whether at home or at work. I’m also on purpose whether things are going well or not so well, which brings a sense of calm to the workplace. Based on my values and life experiences, my personal purpose is faith-based: To be a living testament. To be usable to God. To honor God in all I do.
Cheryl – When you are doing work that is aligned with your purpose, what is it like?
Scott – Being purposeful is not always a mountaintop experience, although it tends to drive those special, “aha” moments more frequently. But very often it simply brings meaning to the hard things we have to do every day. I’ll sometimes go through a long workday never once actually thinking about my purpose, and yet it’s now so ingrained in me, I find myself realizing (as I collapse into bed) that the day was filled with meaning and that the day’s events were right in line with what I feel I’m called to do. It gives me the joy and energy I need and want to get up the next day and give it all I have again.
Cheryl – What do you do if you find yourself straying off your purpose?
Scott – We all stray off course. Sometimes we need just a minor course correction. Sometimes we need a major shift. The key is to be humble, accept feedback from others, and to be self-aware enough that we can see when we are off track. Then apologize to yourself or to anyone you may have hurt along the way, and move on. Don’t condemn yourself over it once you’ve dealt with it. Just be better the next time around.
Cheryl – What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received in your career?
Scott – To always be mindful that we can never satisfy our own selfish desires. Our happiness and our success come from making others happy and successful. We reap what we sow. We get what we first give away.
Cheryl – What advice would you give leaders, who want to be purposeful and successful?
Scott – Be a good steward of whatever is entrusted to you. Be the best at the task you’ve been given, but also be humble about how much more you can always learn. Take the time to focus on your current job, not always thinking about the next job and the job after that. If you serve what has currently been given to you, people will see you and your results.
“The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.”~ Albert Einstein
If you’ve created a team around you that is successful and talented, people will feel they can promote you without harming the business. Be willing to take on the hard things in life, and have a humble confidence that you can do a great job. Have character. The greatest downfall of any leader almost always comes back to a lack of character.