Whether you’re the head of a startup or overseeing hundreds of employees, you can always improve your ability to lead and inspire others toward a shared vision. Use these three tips.
- Look for culture-adds instead of culture-fits.
- Create meaning and fulfillment.
- Start at the top.
Building a company and overseeing an organization takes a particular set of skills, and many visionaries are plagued by the disconnect between their dream company and their current reality. They also struggle to articulate their vision in a way that allows them to find people who share it and can help them get there.
The Silicon Slopes Tech Summit was a great place for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and aspiring executives to connect, learn, and be inspired. We truly have a vibrant business community, and I personally came away from the summit energized with some new ideas as I lead our agency to more growth.
I was reminded of the importance of articulating values and a clear direction, which helps motivate and inspire people to want to show up at their best, day in and day out. Values are what you care about and love. Motivators are why you do what you do — your purpose.
Melissa Garon, a talent development partner at Adobe, and Tonia Erin, a senior product manager at Adobe, explained that when people find a job that aligns with their values, they are more engaged and more likely to report an excellent quality of life. The inverse is true as well — if you understand your vision, it’s easier to find people who share it, and who will be engaged.
At Stoke, we look for talented employees with the drive to create quality content for our clients and to have fun doing it. We love projects that give our people opportunities to stretch and grow. Because we think people are really important.
We strive to extend that value beyond the workplace by looking for opportunities to serve in our community, like participating in Silicon Slopes Tech Summit to donate one million meals to people in need. I also currently serve as a member of our local Centro Hispano’s Hispanic Round Table where we’re looking to reduce the incidence of sexual abuse and violence against women in our community.
As to the Summit, with two full days of guidance from industry leaders, I left with many insights relative to building a team with a shared vision that can benefit any company, large or small.
1. To promote innovation, look for culture-adds instead of culture-fits.
Seventy percent of an average organization’s operating expense is human capital, so having the right people working for your company is crucial for innovation and execution.
Diversity is essential for producing the best results, according to Trisha Price, chief product officer at nCino. If everyone at your company has the same perspective, you aren’t bringing in new ideas, and innovation suffers.
When hiring new employees, look for those who will be a culture add, not a culture fit. And remember that while you can always teach skills, you can’t teach attitude. Look for employees who are willing to learn, who will respect other points of view, and who will thrive in a changing environment.
2. Create meaning and fulfillment.
Some companies think “culture” refers to creating a fun environment and having cool toys like the proverbial ping-pong table. In reality, explained Jaime Neely, the chief culture officer at Trend Hunter, a good company culture means creating a fulfilling and meaningful environment for all employees. Your employees are your internal customers. If they aren’t satisfied with your company, they’ll leave, and take their talents and perspectives with them.
The workplace is changing. The current workforce spans five generations, and more employees are expecting flexibility. Companies need to keep their employees engaged by increasing diversity, investing in employee learning, and identifying each employee’s individual strengths. Provide real benefits to your employees to show you value them, which will improve quality of life and prevent burnout. Become a company that your employees can believe in. For many people, their job is an extension of their identity, and they want to be associated with a company that does good in the world.
3. Start with yourself. Company-wide evolution will follow.
All major changes need to start at the top. Leaders are in a position of opportunity, and they need to take action to create any widespread change. Organizations are five times more likely to make changes if they see those changes modeled by the CEO. So if you want to see change in your company, you must take the first steps.
Chris Gibson, the co-founder & CEO of Recursion, Dan Burton, the CEO of Health Catalyst, and Aaron Skonnard, the co-founder & CEO of Pluralsight, all participated in a panel discussion on lessons they’ve learned about the importance of starting from the top, and the steps they’ve taken to improve their companies. Some of these include hiring diverse executives who can push back when they see problems, acknowledging your own lack of experience, educating yourself, and building an environment of emotional safety.
Change doesn’t just happen. Set a goal and create a vision of how you want your company to look. Then take concrete steps to realize that vision, and be vulnerable enough to ask for help making it a reality.
We’re growing, and we’d love to help you grow, too. If you’re ready to make big things happen in your business, schedule some time to talk to us today.