Business Speaker offers Leadership Insights from Dr. Viktor Frankl

“Our answer must consist not in talk and medication, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
– Dr. Viktor Frankl

Exchange the word “Life” with “Business” in this opening quote and you have a powerful truism for business.  In my 14 years as a Leadership Speaker and Sales Coach, I have studied many of the master thinkers.  At the top of the top of my list is the work of Dr. Viktor Frankl.

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) really knew what he was talking about. He had this ‘being human thing’ figured out. He was one of the greatest European philosophers and psychiatrists of the Twentieth Century. The U.S. Library of Congress named, Dr. Frankl’s enlightening book, Man’s Search for Meaning as one of the 10 books that “made the most difference in people’s lives.”

Frankel lectured in over 40 countries and even fulfilled a visiting professorship at Southern Methodist University. He developed his philosophy known as Logotherapy in the 1930s (Logos is “meaning” in Greek). I recently had the privilege of participating in the thirteenth World Congress of Viktor Frankel’s Logotherapy. In this challenging time for businesses, we can benefit greatly from a look into his teachings. Here is some wisdom from Dr. Frankel and how it relates to business.

We have the Freedom of Choice.

Dr. Frankel’s pregnant wife, his parents and brother were all killed during their incarceration in Nazi prison camps. It was in these camps that Dr. Frankel validated his theories. He lost everything, he said, that could be taken from a prisoner, except one thing; “the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” As the markets continue to fluctuate and business challenges mount, you have the freedom to choose your reaction. A resourceful attitude towards a challenge is paramount if the challenge is to be met.

Our Responses Count.

According to Frankel, it is not what happens to you that matters. It is how you respond to what happens that is significant. Same with business. You can not control all the elements of business. Trucks breakdown. Greenspan sleeps. Things happen. How will you respond to unforeseen events? What will you DO? The only things you can control are your responses, your decisions, your actions.

We Must Fight.

Standing up to adversity ( i.e. business challenges, the slowing economy) is something Dr. Frankel believed in . Frankel was an ACTION man. In the face of inescapable uncertainty, you must have unwavering determination to overcome the challenges that face you daily in the business world.

Focus on Fulfilling Unique Potential.

We not only have a right, but a responsibility, to fulfill our individual potential, according to Frankel. He stressed the using of one’s inner resources to achieve personal goals and find personal truth. The same truth applies to every corporation or business. Each employee, no matter the position or responsibility, has unique strengths, that when utilized, prove to be vital in creating the future of the organization.

Behavior is Driven by Internal Purpose.

Great managers know this. It is imperative to understand what the employee is about. Why are they working for the organization? What drives them? Gaining insight into a person’s reasons for working goes a long way in helping the employee reach their full potential.
Responsible-ness -is the center of Frankel’s work. Each of us must take responsibility for where we are in our relationships, financial situation, job situation and businesses because of our decisions that put us there.

Being Responsible, Finding and Making the Most of Individual Strengths, Overcoming Adversity, the Freedom and Power of Choice, ACTION – Frankel would have been the ultimate leadership speaker, sales coach, sales manager or at least a world class CEO.

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