“Doing What Matters”

“We all need a champion, someone who sees our potential—sometimes before we see it in ourselves. Among the responsibilities of a leader is to promote the development of others by providing the resources and environment in which people can learn, grow, and realize their full capacity for achievement.”

This premise is at the heart of Doing What Matters, a business fable about how an organization rallies around a struggling executive to provide the support, insights, and inspiration he needs to lead his team and contribute to the company’s success.

john_25years_00After initial gains in his post as Regional Vice President of Sales, Mike Spur has seen a steady decline in sales by his team, and he is unsure—and nearing desperation—about how to turn things around. When Mike’s direct boss and the CEO step in to offer encouragement and share a practical framework for fostering a “learning organization,” Mike takes full advantage of the opportunity to enhance his leadership skills and apply an effective step-by-step approach to identify and implement solutions likely to boost sales and improve customer service across the company. The Learning Loop offers Mike—and readers—a versatile, useful model to effect positive, continual progress and to optimize the organization’s collective talents.

In the Preface, author John Janclaes explains that the idea for Doing What Matters came to him during his tenth anniversary year as President/CEO of Partners Federal Credit Union, which serves employees of The Walt Disney Company. In an interview for a trade journal article, the editor asked John, “Which accomplishment are you most proud of during your tenure?”

“The answer was easy: Our credit union had transformed itself from a good organization into a thriving enterprise by Doing What Matters,” John recalls.

That realization led him to revisit some of the lessons learned during his nearly twenty-five years of professional work experience, captured in his personal journals. Journaling is a daily practice for John, a way to capture ideas that might improve his life and work. Over the years, he has created a library of more than forty journals filled with handwritten notes, sketches, and diagrams.

John’s primary aim in reviewing his journals was “to understand what enduring principles could be repurposed so that I might do more, serve more, contribute more, and experience more of what life has to offer. … Among the most valuable were entries in which I sought to identify and codify my life purpose,” summarized here:

My purpose, every single day, is to be in sync with the natural rhythms of life, to create environments in which I and others can thrive and which would enable me to take action without knowing how things will work out, thereby living a life filled with adventure.

This and other ideas from John’s journals became the genesis of this book. Doing What Matters explores how a well-intentioned company can become a thriving enterprise and how leaders can most effectively embrace their responsibility for building a community in which personal development is an expectation that is fostered and rewarded. The Learning Loop framework unfolds in chapter after chapter, each of which concludes with a helpful summary of key concepts. Diagrams, tables, and worksheets illustrate and emphasize essential elements of the model set out in the book, so you can begin applying this approach in your organization today!

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