Secret Sauce: What I Learned from the Chief Learning Officer at SAP
Listening to learn expands your influence.
Reflection solidifies learning.
I’m reflecting on what I learned from Jenny Dearborn, SVP and CLO at SAP.
When I asked Jenny Dearborn for her Secret Sauce, she said, “The very first thing I think of is purpose. Understand who you are in the world. Know why you exist.”
Jenny said, “I always had this sense that there was something big and grand that I was part of… I remember my grandmother saying, ‘You’re here to do great things. Don’t waste your talent.’”
Jenny went on to say, “I try to very purposefully make sure that every day is more open and transparent and positive than the day before.”
Reflection one: Purpose fuels transparency.
If you believe you have a place in the world, you must be transparent to fulfill it.
One way to be transparent is to tell your story.
Reflection two: Purpose is found in service.
Self-service is one reason you aren’t fulfilling your purpose. Self-serving leaders might get things done, but they miss the purpose of leadership – serving the greater good.
What about vacations, hobbies, and relaxation? Serve yourself so that you can better serve others. What about retirement?
Retirement, in the traditional sense, is a comfortable word for selfish entitlement.
Don’t look forward to retirement. Look forward to deeper service. At the end of life, what you give to others is all you have left.
Purposeful life is lived in service to others.
Reflection three: Adversity expands your capacity to serve and deepens your purpose.
Jenny said, “I could choose to wallow in anger and bitterness for years of mistreatment or I could ask, How can these experiences be used to help other people?” (Read about it here.)
Purpose enables you to integrate dark experiences into effective service. It’s not about whining and complaining. It’s about bringing your whole self in service to others.
- Distress opens your heart when viewed through the lens of purpose.
- Suffering provides tools to show compassion.
- Pressing through adversity teaches leaders how to be tough and tender.
How might leaders bring purpose to day-to-day leadership?
How is purpose discovered?
Jenny’s full post with audio clips: SECRET SAUCE: JENNY DEARBORN CHIEF LEARNING OFFICER OF SAP
*I relax my 300 word limit on the weekend.
“Adversity expands your capacity to serve and deepens your purpose”
Dan, I’m not not entirely comfortable with this. Adversity makes some people, but it breaks others. Asking for service from the broken can be a demand from those who have no more to give.
If a heart be broken,
have it break open,
(In re: “Distress opens your heart …”)
Betrayals and abuses (inevitable in trusts and dependencies) are opportunities for (emotionally aware/mature) affirmation, rather than the usual (immature) angry denials and blame (for the same).
[In re: compassionate purpose and intents.]
After all, it’s part our fault for even being here.
(“Oh, oh ohh! – What’s love got to do with it? …a second hand emotion? …Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?”
Own your heart – No Other should be able to turn your heart to rage (hatred OR anger, cold OR hot).
It don’t mean it don’t hurt, tho …”grace” is in how you manage it.
Dan, “Jenny Dearborn, hits home on “finding one’s place in the universe” If you believe? Ones fulfillment may take many turns, trails and errors to one achieves thier place, a person may never feel totalllly fulfilled. I’m thinking this is more a personal issue compared to a Team issue,m yet a team has a role in this too! Find your way as its your journey, helping those along the way can be ones fulfillment! Yet for others they still feel emptiness, there seems to be a hole they can’t fill. How do we mend a broken heart? Some people have the ability to heal and move on others, literally die, seems cruel how poerful a broken heart can be.
Josh, we have all been there. Our God is an awesome God. I am glad he has brought you to where you are today.
Man do I love point #3. I grew up in a place where everything was great on the outside, but inside I was dying. That led to many dark thoughts that no one should have. Fast forward to now, God had brought me out of that place and I have the opportunity to relate to SO MANY students whom feel the same way I did. I can see how what the enemy used to harm me, God used in my story. That’s truth you speak, Dan. I love it!
Really enjoyed today’s article. Particularly fond of, “Purpose fuels transparency”. And your last reflection, “Adversity expands your capacity to serve and deepens your purpose”, reminds me of Viktor Frankl’s reflections in Man’s Search for Meaning. Thanks Dan!
i love this statement “At the end of life, what you give to others is all you have left” – real words to live by
This really hit home for me. It gave me the words for something I’ve been pondering for sometime now: what purpose does suffering, heartbreak, emotional trauma…actually serve? Well put, articulately summarized, I get it now. Time to put it into action!