As I start my fourth company, one of the key strategic design pillars is Leadership which, in my eyes, prevails when the culture supports the people in a way that encourages and fosters calculated risk-taking. Leadership is not just about the person in the corner office with a fancy title, it is about the entire team feeling empowered to excel in their roles and beyond.
I have firsthand experience having lived through the good, bad and ugly aspects of employee culture. In my last company (Consumer Impact Marketing), we created a culture of magic; something that was hard to describe, sometimes even to understand, but our employees and customers felt it every day, and the whole team were key participants. Leadership is a skill set, but it is often overlooked as a cultural design and an everyday activity.
I have done many things over the years that I thought would really drive leadership via a cultural aspect, such as; beer fridge, pool tables, flexible hours, relaxed dress code, summer hours, etc - and many special events that supported the "work hard-play hard" philosophy. What I can tell you is, yes, they do work, they do make the company more unique; however, what really drives a culture of leadership are the programs that the owners can and should put in place: truly open communication, profit sharing, family outings, many team events, reward-recognition programs (lead by team members, not the executives).
I have seen those types of programs change the way employees work and positively impact the business.
The challenge I find myself in now with another new company is finding the right leaders for each aspect of the business. The leaders that I have, and the ones I will help cultivate and grow, are individuals with a strong sense of: accountability, strategic thinking (balanced with tactical execution), and an overall principle of creating a culture that is magical!
My iMD Health team is already creating something special, in a new space, with new technologies that customers are lining up for. Leadership at work!
Photo attribution: http://imgur.com/gallery/RIqvtB0