“Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential.” – Blackrock’s Larry Fink
Throughout my career, I have been a champion and a trusted confidante to boards and executives, inviting leaders to be intentional and purposeful; to engage in open dialogs about their effectiveness; to ascertain their vision, long-term strategy and value-creation; and to consider the impact their decisions may have on all stakeholders. I have also been a huge proponent of addressing the needs of these stakeholders, and encouraging leaders to gain clarity about their intrinsic motivation for being in their roles.
As 2018 kicked off, it was music to my ears that the CEO of Blackrock, manager of $6.3 trillion, outlined his expectation to CEOs of public companies to start accounting for their leaderships’ effect on society. He said: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”
Fink went further, stating that every CEO must demonstrate that their “board is engaged with the strategic direction of the company” and that the “directors” be expected “to describe the board process for overseeing” the strategy.
I am also encouraged after reading “The error at the heart of corporate leadership,” published last spring by Harvard Business School, which said: “A company’s health—not its shareholders’ wealth—should be the primary concern of those who manage corporations… the success of a leader has more to do with intrinsic motivation, skills, capabilities and character than with whether his or her pay is tied to shareholder returns. If leaders are poorly equipped for the job, ‘giving them more skin in the game’ will not improve the situation and may even make it worse.”
With a New Year, new governance and leadership for ourselves, our organizations and communities are inevitable!
Many of us express the desire to start anew as we kick off a New Year. A new year doesn’t imply new beginnings unless we intend to make a change and find the courage to change. What we must realize is that the New Year is just a time in space that we have envisioned as a time to motivate us and to inspire us to make new beginnings and intentions.
The fact is, the “New Year” of our lives happens every single day. We all seek joy and fulfillment, and every day is an opportunity to be truer to ourselves and to honor ourselves by initiating the needed changes that can fuel our joy and help us realize our potential. When the New Year doesn’t kick off as we expected, we mustn’t be deflated, but allow ourselves to recalibrate and focus on our desires of living in harmony with ourselves and others. Let’s forgive ourselves, be humble and simply take the needed steps at any time of the year when we realize that it is indeed, time.
My wish for 2018 is that we all intentionally commit to being introspective as leaders of our lives, our boards, our organizations and our communities; to cherish our health; do what we love; to really care to be our best self to be in harmony with ourselves and others; and to do the right thing because we care to impact positively and that we take pride of our roles and responsibilities in serving others.
We have the birthright to claim our lives any moment of every day.
Aligned with helping others pursue this birthright, passionate about healthy leadership and concurring with Larry Fink’s 2018 letter to CEOs, I am happy to announce the launch of a refreshed JohanneBouchard.com, featuring the BonneFire Community. This new subscription offering is dedicated to fostering healthy individuals and healthy organizations and I invite you to join BonneFire.
I have been empowered by leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom we honored last Monday, to do the right thing and to invite boards and their individual directors to join me. I invite you to learn how I have served executives, boards, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders, and how in 2018 I am committed to supporting healthy leadership and empowering others.
Our boards and our organizations can’t be as effective as they are capable of being, if individually their members are not as healthy as they can be.
“Last year, 919 chief executives resigned, retired or got fired at publicly traded North American companies, the highest number in at least a decade…” – Wall Street Journal
While – as recently also stated by WSJ – boards want to intensify scrutiny of CEOs for healthier leadership and healthier organizations, CEOs must care enough to commit to be “healthy individuals.” We must shake up toxic culture by addressing our own behaviors — not just the behaviors of our leaders, but of each of ours. We each play a vital role.
Since I am highly committed to continue to be a trusted “leadership whisperer” for boards and leaders behind closed doors, and to help address the core board challenges in 2018, the timing is ripe to create a space where people can be empowered to be healthy individuals, to gain clarity about themselves and their own journey, and be inspired by other people’s journeys.
Every month, starting in February, I am sharing powerful, integrated content with BonneFire Community members: (1) inspiring guidance newsletters and check-ins, (2) practices and (3) live chats or an open letter about the month’s theme.
In February, the inaugural newsletter will focus on “Loving what you do: enjoying the journey and being in the flow according to who you are” and the Practice and Check-In will align with this theme.
In March, I will address “The importance of having a vision of your best self, committed to high standards as a leader at home, in the boardroom, in the organization and our communities, in order to experience harmony with yourself and others.”
Each BonneFire Community guest is galvanized to share about her/his own journey in pursuit of what they love(d) to do, what they are/were gifted at doing in manifesting their potential, and the challenges that they had to overcome while seeking to being true to themselves. Each one cares to be self-aware and mindful of the influence they have on the people around them and will share about their intrinsic motivation and their character building.
With an upcoming Winter Olympics, being myself an avid lover of the outdoors and using a lot of sports analogies when I blog and work with clients, it was natural to reach out to women and men athletes who have risen to the highest level in their field, some of whom have competed in the Olympics and others of whom have been first in creating new categories. I am honored to have their support, as well as that of some entrepreneurs, private equity leaders and great mother figures to chat with me one-on-one in support of the BonneFire Community’s goals and its members for the Zoom chat series in 2018.
I am grateful that both Matt and Christin have agreed to be my first two guests. Matt will share “about the journey of being true to your heart and not just the nuts and bolts of the game.” Christin will share about the journey to become an Olympian, her remarks about the 2018 Winter Olympics ski athletes and how she embraced transitions and continued to be empowered in her life. Christin spent 30 years as an expert analyst in alpine skiing, calling six Winter Olympic Games, and 25 years in the restaurant business, transferring lessons learned from high-level sports into the world of service and hospitality.
I hope you will join the BonneFire Community and my honored guests, collaborate with me and aspire with me to fostering healthy individuals and healthy organizations.
In 2018, we must intend to live fulfilling lives; to realize our individual and collective potential in all aspects of our lives; to inspire our loved ones to create their own footsteps living their unique blueprint; and to lead with dignity in alignment on values, governance and strategic priorities conscious of the real impact we can make and should care to make given our current complex challenges and for future generations.