Episode 32 – Marc Koehler: Leading with Purpose

Marc Koehler, President of Lead with Purpose   LeadWithPurpose.com

Marc Koehler, President of Lead with Purpose


This episode features a man who has made it his mission to help struggling small businesses find a path to success. Marc Koehler will talks about how life on a submarine is in many ways similar to running a small business. Marc is the President of Lead With Purpose, Inc., and his specialty is turning small and seemingly dysfunctional companies into functional, successful businesses.

When he was 23, Marc joined the Navy's nuclear submarine force. He led 100+ men underwater with limited resources for long stretches of time. After leaving the Navy, Marc worked as a manager with large corporations.

I was missing something while I was managing people in big business.
— Marc Koehler

Marc quickly discovered that in the Navy, he was accustomed to having the power to make decisions. But in the world of big business, all of his decisions had to be run through upper management. He didn't feel empowered to make decisions on his own that would improve the conditions in his job.

I desired a better balance, so I stepped out on my own.
— Marc Koehler

When he left the corporate world, he struck out on his own by providing management consulting services to small businesses. Marc shared the lessons he learned from the big business with the small business. But this overwhelmed small business teams. Stepping back, Marc realized that small businesses could learn more from his submarine experiences than his experience with large corporations.

According to a study performed by the Harvard Business Review, 90% of the people in a company do not understand how their day to day work connects to the long term purpose of the company. This shocked Marc, and he dug deeper into research that studied people's attitudes toward their jobs. He found the annual Gallup Employee Engagement Poll whose results showed that 20% of American workers hate their jobs; 50% of workers are apathetic about their jobs, and 30% actually love their jobs and are engaged in them.

People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They get excited when they have done something that makes a difference in the world.
— Marc Koehler

When Marc first went into small business he thought that to succeed, a company had to have the best people. But he learned that that isn't necessarily true. You don't have to have the best people to win, but you have to have passionate and engaged people.

When I coached 8 year old kids in soccer, I learned more about leadership. The kids were engaged, and loved the game.
— Marc Koehler

Lead With Purpose is built on a combination of Marc's leadership experience on a nuclear submarine and his time in corporate America. It starts with a deep understanding why an organization exists. 

When you start with purpose and values, the people who shouldn’t be on the boat will go find a different boat that they’re more passionate about.
— Marc Koehler

Check out Marc's new book, Leading With Purpose, where he provides the complete road map for a team to find its purpose. The book has already received critical acclaim as the winner of the 2015 USA Best Book Award.

Links to People and Things Mentioned in the Show

A Guide to SMART Goals

Taken from Marc Koehler's book, p. 80.

Taken from Marc Koehler's book, p. 80.

Featured Music: Deluge by Chris Keene off his album: "Above The Ground Or Under"