It is not remarkable that Hubert Sagnières’ vision is clear. After all, he is CEO of Essilor, the world’s largest producer of eyeglass lenses. What is remarkable is the discipline with which Sagnières keeps various societal, business, and individual efforts all focused on the mission of improved vision and in their own boxes at the same time.


Photo credit: istolethetv

One of Sagnières’ societal efforts is the Vision Impact Institute, an independent, non-profit “global connector of knowledge, data and solutions for reducing the impact of impaired vision around the world.” This Institute was formed by people from Essilor and Boston Consulting Group , with the help of advisory board member Dr. Kevin Frick from Johns Hopkins, and will be run by Essilor’s Jean-Félix Biosse Duplan.

Sagnières told me that the inspiration for the Institute was a conversation he had had with China’s Minister of Health. Sagnières explained that 80 percent of Chinese people are myopic (near-sighted). While myopia is not a major issue for those working on a farm, as China’s population moves to cities and factories and offices it becomes more of an impediment to productivity. Unfortunately, there was no data the minister of health could use to convince his colleagues to invest in eye care education. Thus Sagnières saw the need for an independent, credible entity to collect and leverage data on the subject.

Why not run this through The Essilor Vision Foundation that Sagnières had founded in 2007?

“The Essilor Vision Foundation, comprised of Essilor volunteers, is focused on actions to improve the vision of kids in the United States,” Sagnières said.

Do you see how powerful that is? Put your glasses on and read it again. One mission – improve vision. The three different organizations contributing in different ways to realize this mission:

The Vision Impact Institute: improving vision at a macro, global, societal level with data and information that benefit all. Independent non-profit.

Essilor: improving vision with eyeglass lenses – and making a good profit doing so with over 1 billion people now wearing Essilor lenses.

Essilor Vision Foundation: improving the vision of kids in the U.S. The Foundation is comprised of like-minded entities in the optical industry, supported by Essilor because they think it’s the right thing to do.

The connections are valuable. The independent institute will find and publish data that helps Essilor fulfill its mission in a meaningful and rewarding way. Essilor’s profits enable its kid-focused charity to do its work. Essilor is so committed to doing this right that it has created a new “Corporate Mission Officer” to make sure everything they do and influence drives their single, important mission.

Leadership is about inspiring others to do their absolute best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose. Essilor is focused on a meaningful purpose. Improving people’s vision is an absolute good. Essilor’s stakeholders get meaningful rewards from their efforts. Sagnières inspires each organization (Vision Impact Institute, Essilor company, and Essilor child-focused Vision Foundation) to do its absolute best, while leveraging the synergies across organizations together.

Ideas worth reapplying:

  • Align everyone around a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose.
  • Execute against that purpose on a societal, business and individual level with the discipline to keep the efforts separate.
  • Leverage the synergies. There are always synergies between efforts with the same purpose.

This is an example at the heart of The New Leader’s PlaybookBRAVE Leadership

We’re all new leaders all the time. So remember all the time that leadership is about inspiring and enabling others to do their absolute best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose. With that in mind, BRAVE leaders pay attention to their Behaviors, Relationships, Attitude, Values, and Environment – all the time.