“What are we really doing here?” That was the question that John Bibeault was asked when he was the operations manager for the Bose Corporation. The discussion that followed that question helped John frame role as a leader from that point on.

John shared that moment with me when I spoke at Jostens, the leader in yearbooks, class rings and championship rings. John is currently the COO with two divisions at Jostens .

John shared, “My mentor at Bose was Tom Beeson, VP of Global Operations. There were some changes we were considering to improve our production and I was struggling with finding the correct course of action.”

Tom asked me “John, what are we doing here at Bose?”

My answer was “Make really good audio equipment?”

Tom, “No, that’s what we produce. I am asking, what are we really doing here?”

I stammered for a bit not really sure what he was asking. Tom let me stammer for a bit more and then answered his own question.

“We have 700 employees with an average family of four, that’s 2800 lives. It’s our responsibility to help provide a living for all of those lives. If we make a mistake, a lot of people will struggle based on our decision. So let’s make the right decisions for the right reason.”

John said, “From that point on, it changed how I saw my role as a leader, both at Bose and now at Jostens. It’s one thing to produce a great product and fuel real growth, it’s more important to know why you go to work every day and your role as a leader in the lives of others.”