This past weekend I had the privilege of working with an exceptional group of students and sharing in the joy of their graduation from Seton Hall University’s Master of Arts in Strategic Communication & Leadership program. Their insights and their actions offered me a powerful reminder about what really matters when it comes to effective leadership. Combine all the practical experience with all the scholarly theories one can assemble, and it comes down to who cares the most.
When I say caring, I mean caring about everything and everyone – results, relationships, colleagues, family, friends, clients, vendors, etc. Several years ago, I worked for Mullen for a brief time. I participated in a new business pitch one day, and agency CEO Joe Grimaldi closed the presentation by stating to the prospect: “You won’t come across another agency who will care more than Mullen about your business and your success!” I’d had been at the agency just long enough at the time to want to stand up in that moment and say, “he’s right, you know!” I had worked for a number of agencies over the years, and it was the first time in my life I had ever heard those words from a CEO delivered with such sincerity. What’s more, I knew the words were backed by a culture that he, Edward Boches, and others had built over the years that could actually deliver on such a promise. Caring isn’t just what they do, it’s who they are. (Mullen won the business by the way).
I’d assert that every graduate who left Seton Hall’s campus yesterday will return home with an inspired sense of purpose and a renewed commitment to caring just a little bit more about everyone and everything around them. If you believe in the premise that whoever cares the most wins, then it may be time to ask, how much do I care? And is it enough?