Welcome to my regular series entitled "My Light Bulb Moment". This column highlights a "blinding flash of insight" business, cultural and sports leaders have experienced, and how this changed their lives forever

Mark Powell — Group CEO of The Warehouse Group

In 2009, Mark became the CEO of Warehouse Stationery, leading its successful financial turnaround and winning New Zealand's "Best large company to work for", as judged by employees. Mark was promoted to the CEO of The Warehouse Group in Feb 2011, which now includes the iconic Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7.

Light Bulb Moment — Healthy businesses and healthy societies

Between 2005 and 2008 Mark took time out to complete a theology degree. During his studies he had his powerful "light bulb moment".

"This time out helped me reflect and get clarity on human purpose, human flourishing and how this relates to business." As a result, Mark believes that people are most fulfilled when they are part of something bigger than themselves that helps others flourish.

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In terms of business, he came to the realisation that "healthy societies need healthy businesses and healthy businesses need healthy societies". It's a symbiotic relationship, as a good business helps communities flourish, which in turn benefits the business. Governments have no money other than taxes from business profits and people employed in businesses and from sales taxes. Those taxes pay for the public services we take for granted. And in turn, businesses need flourishing customers.

Mark adds: "Because of this, I believe that leaders have a broader responsibility to society, by treating their staff, customers and suppliers well and paying their taxes."

What is success to you?

Moving from business success to personal success, Mark believes "society defines success too much by money, position, possessions, status, celebrity and winning. However, this is not real success". He has a different definition of personal success for the average Kiwi. "Success could mean that you are a great mother or father. It could mean that you are the coach of an under-10s rugby team, helping mentor and motivate the next Ritchie McCaw. It could also be working in your community, making a real, tangible difference in people's lives ... Success is helping others flourish. I believe if you are blessed, you are blessed to be a blessing to others, not just for yourself."


As we progress into 2015, remember your responsibility as a leader, and think hard about what personal success means to you, not what it is perceived to be by others.

If you have had a blinding moment of insight (a light bulb moment), please email me. I would love to hear about it.


Tom is an award-winning business speaker, best-selling international author and MD of both CV.CO.NZ and OnePercentGuy.com. Email Tom for a chat at tom@OnePercentGuy.com.