Everything Matters

Posted on June 4, 2014

Everyone struggles with meaning in life, but everyone wants to be meaningful.”

Nicholas McKinney, Esquire

“It’s just a job” or “I’m sorry, it’s just business” are extremely dangerous statements.

Uncle Paul’s Treasures

A core belief that I have is that everyone is created for a purpose.   Whether you agree with this perspective or not, I think we can all relate to a desire to be significant, however one might define this.  Perhaps our longest seasons of unrest, and we all have them, are those times when we feel unfulfilled, when what we do with our time doesn’t match up with our passions and gifts, a feeling in our gut that there has to be something more to this.  It’s inarguable that we all possess different temperaments, talents, convictions and gifts in a way that is akin to a fingerprint. 

But what was I created to do?

Personally, my faith has given me my directions in this and I think there are some relevant points that we should consider within the context of our enterprise. 

Often times, this thinking around purpose focuses on big things; a big deal, a large project, a mission trip.  To be clear, these “Big” efforts are extremely important and we should celebrate their pursuit and achievement and evaluate deeply when we fail, or worse, fail to pursue.  These big moments are milestones, moments in time for you personally and a goal for our business as it moves forward.  However, it is in the day to day that we establish ourselves; it is in the day to day that we learn and grow.  It is this daily movement that we live our purpose and a mission, our corporate mission, should be the filter to measure all of our activities because everything matters.

With that in mind, the question becomes are we pursuing our vocations, the building of our business, important areas of our personal lives with excellence and a sense of a greater purpose? 

I believe that our mission at CNL Commercial Real Estate should be the following:

“To make the world a better place through our customers, associates, partners and the projects we acquire and develop. “

I am going to ask that you begin to think and help us expand this.  Here are some things to begin to think about as we “open source” this discussion around our mission:

1)      If we get this right, our mission should be timeless and reach into to you personally.

2)      The world is a big place but think about it in the context of “the world” that you live in:

a.       Our workplace – each other.

b.      Our customers

c.       The communities and cities we live in

d.      Our industry

e.      Ultimately, our world is simply other people (associates, customers, and partners), how do we make their lives better.

3)      I believe there is no greater joy than in creating something.  You are a part of this process by giving us feedback on our mission; use the following as examples but you are not limited in your commentary.

a.       How can we make the world better? 

b.      What does it look like for you day to day within the context of your job?

c.       What are some examples that are meaningful to you?

d.      What are some of the great things we are already doing?

e.      What are some big opportunities that we can pursue?

f.        How can we better use this filter everything that we do?

Creating an effective mission should be applicable, usable and something that we think about every day.  It should impact our small efforts and our larger efforts.  Think about it this way, my wife and I didn’t raise our children (a really big thing) one day, it happened, and is still happening over 18 years and is the result of all of the days, the ones we got right and got wrong.  Is building an enduring business through our daily efforts any different?

What if we started every day with the thought – how will my efforts change the world today (using the context above) and we let that direct our time.  This counts for every role within the company in all of our interactions with each other and our customers.  You have a world that you live in and you can impact it.

A final example to reflect on, our security guards in Tower II greet me and all of our tenants with a smile and an intentional “Good Morning” every day.  That first effort is really small, but it affects me every day and I always respond back, even when maybe I don’t feel like it.  Didn’t they make the world a little bit better in that moment?  Add that up and thin

k about all of the interactions we have on a daily basis, over years, and years, you can begin to see that if a team had a mission how it can work.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”

Margaret Mead

I look forward to your feedback and this ongoing discussion.

Written by Paul Ellis
Group President of CNL Commercial Real Estate