Center for Higher Ambition Leadership Executive Fellow Doug Wilson (right) has embarked on a series of webcasts with leaders who have insights and wisdom to impart, Lessons Learned: Proven Leaders Speak on Leadership. The most recent podcast featured an interview with Dick Gochnauer, former CEO of United Stationers (now Essendant) on The Power of Purpose.
Doug describes the session this way:
“Purpose answers the questions: “Why do I exist?” and “What is noble about our efforts?” A clear purpose is not only critical for the new work force, it is critical as the cornerstone of a company’s strategy. Dick Gochnauer knows this truth to the core. He is the former CEO of United Stationers, a Fortune 500 Company and now serves on the board of the Center for Higher Ambition Leadership, which is dedicated to helping purposeful leaders build high performing companies and a better world.
United Stationers is the largest business products distribution company in the U.S. Dick helped to transform the business as the CEO, not only producing a strong return for shareholders but also a powerful impact with employees, suppliers, and the communities where the company lives and works. When Dick retired, the company set up The Dick Gochnauer Annual Giving Award for the outstanding effort by an employee or team who gave back to their community.
Dick took over United Stationers when analysts were predicting the demise of the company, thinking it would be disinter-mediated by big box office suppliers such as Office Max. No such thing happened, and that was a result of strategic leadership.
Dick attributes much of the company’s success to crafting a powerful purpose for the company that engaged all stakeholders. The motivation, commitment, and creativity that resulted from the effort has left United Stationers in a strong position to continue as the dominant player in office products distribution.”
In the months ahead, Doug will bring you conversations with a wide range of individuals who have pursued a Higher Ambition. Each will be concise and focused on practical knowledge that you will be able to put to work right away. We invite you to listen and share your thoughts. Subscribe to the series on iTunes so that you never miss an episode.